April 8, 2015

Family School Pride Mt. Airy group gives $12K in tax credit funds to neighborhood schools

Left to right: Elayne Bender of East Mt. Airy Neighbors, Principal Karen White of A. B. Day, Abby Thaker of Mt. Airy USA and Karima Bouchenafa of West Mt. Airy Neighbors. (Courtesy of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition)

Parents here is a resourceful way to build partnerships with local businesses and support your public schools.

The Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, a group made up of three community civic organizations, has granted $12,000 to six neighborhood schools.
It's the second year the group has used a state tax credit program called the Educational Improvement Tax Credit to allow business owners to direct their state tax dollars to area schools.
Together West Mt. Airy Neighbors, East Mt. Airy Neighbors and Mt. Airy USA partnered with four areas banks to fund extracurricular activities at A. B. Day, C.W. Henry, Emlen, Houston, Lingelbach, and J. S. Jenks.
Here's what the money will go towards: 
  • A. B. Day - Purchasing First in Math software licenses for students in grades 1 to 6. The software provides online instruction tailored to individual student needs.
  • Lingelbach - Enhancing music offerings to purchase new instruments and sheet music.
  • Emlen - Enhancing music offerings to purchase new instruments and sheet music.
  • C.W. Henry - Purchasing Chromebooks for students in grades K to 3.
  • Houston - Supporting the school’s gifted program through the purchase of classroom technology as well as field trips.
  • J. S. Jenks - Purchasing materials and software to connect the school’s STEM Initiative in grades K to 2 to its literacy curriculum.
EITC, a program that has been available through the state since 2001, allows local businesses to contribute to a designated 501c(3) fund and receive a credit to their company's tax bill. The program allows for the money to go to either private and parochial schools or to public schools in their community.
This year, four local banks — Univest, National Penn, Susquehanna, and M&T — participated in the program.
In order for public schools to participate, a local organization must step in to apply and act as an intermediary. That's where the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition comes in. 
“The success of our public elementary schools is key to the health of the community. Every child deserves access to the best education we can provide. All children are 'our' children," said Elayne Bender, executive director of East Mt. Airy Neighbors. 
After granting $8,100 to the schools last year, Abby Thaker, director of educational partnerships at Mt. Airy USA , said the group hopes to continue to grow the fund. 
"The programs have been supporting after school and extracurricular programming that are hard to fund through district dollars," she said. "These programs are really valuable."