Residents have two weeks to help out their local public schools with a refundable tax credit donation before the year's end.

Couples can donate up to $400 and singular persons can donate up to $200 toward their public school of choice. They can either give to a specific cause, like the music program, or to an undesignated area. If undesignated is chosen, the school's site council, which is made of certified staff, support staff and parents, decides the best place to allocate the money.

For example, with some of this year's undesignated dollars, the site council at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary put $5,000 toward after-school tutoring for their students leading up to the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test. For two hours each week for eight weeks, 50 kids who were scoring the lowest in the school received free tutoring.

"We definitely saw some growth in those students," Principal Tonja Yalung said. "It was the biggest amount we had ever put toward a project, but it targeted specific areas in specific students to a positive effect."

The tax credit donation helps students attend extracurricular activities such as athletics, art and music programs, character education, and field trips. The Kyrene School District office, 8700 S. Kyrene Road in Tempe, will be open on Dec. 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to accept last-minute donations, or they can be made online at www.kyrene.org/ksdportal/taxcredit.

To donate to Desert Vista or Mountain Pointe high schools, the Tempe Union High School District office, 500 W. Guadalupe Road in Tempe, will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 31, or you can donate online at www.tuhsdpayonline.org. Tax credit forms, which are needed when filing your 2011 tax return, can also be found on both websites.

Forms can also be found at the schools themselves around Ahwatukee Foothills. They are due by Dec. 31 in order to be claimed on this year's taxes.

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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