More options from Arizona
We already discussed one of Arizona's Personal Tax Credits for School Tutition Organizations (STO), but guess what? There's more! As your eyes rivet to the screen in pure delight that Arizona would offer multiple school choice programs, consider the Corporate Tax Credit for School Tuition Organizations (STO).
In addition to allowing individuals to contribute to School Tuition Organizations ( the equivalent of the Scholarship Granting Organizations proposed in H. 4894), the corporate tax credit program allows business to receive a credit on corporate income taxes for contributions to an STO. The individual and corporate income tax credit programs work in tandem to provide as many options as possible for participating students.
The most a student can receive in aid from an STO for grades K-8 is $4,700 per year ( $6,000 for 9-12th graders), but the average scholarship size a little over $2,212. The caps on scholarship sizes increase by $100 every year.
Scholarship recipients from the Corporate Tax Credit program must be low income. This requirement will undoubtedly be put together with the average scholarship size to come up with the concern,"Will a $2,212 scholarship really help a low-income family put a child in private school?" The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding shows over 4,200 low-income children attending private schools because of the tax credit scholarship program. In the last three years, the number of families taking advantage of the scholarship has more than doubled.
People want to contribute to help families have choices. Arizona has a ten million dollar cap on contributions to the Corporate Tax Credit program, and in 2010 over $9.3 million in scholarships were awarded. To accomodate more contributors and scholarship recipients, the ten million dollar cap is allowed to rise by 20% every year.
School choice is not new, it's not unproven, and it's certainly not destroying public schools. Even a cursory look at the current successes of school choice in other states should motivate South Carolina lawmakers (from a state ranked 48th in the nation for graduation rates) to pursue similar opportunities for families here.