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By Daisy Creager | Oct. 19, 2021
Wesleyan Christian School is promoting a state program granting income tax credits for donations to K-12 private school scholarships — creating a way for donors to direct tax dollars to local education and for schools to gain scholarship funding for low-income families.
Through the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, individuals or businesses donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization — a nonprofit designated to administer the private-school scholarships — and specify the school they want to benefit from the donation.
Donors receive a state income tax credit of 50% of the annual donation amount for a single year’s donations. However, if they pledge in writing to donate the same amount for two consecutive years, they receive a credit of 75% of the donation both years.
Scholarship funds are then transferred to the specified school, with WCS being among the eligible recipients.
“Anyone who’d love to pay less in taxes, anyone who’d love to keep their money local here in the Bartlesville area and anyone who likes to help low-income children and families — this is a great program for them,” WCS Development Director Darla Otto said.
While the program was passed by state legislators in 2011, the school conducts information drives to spread awareness. WCS is hosting an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and has prepared free “how-to” guides for individuals and businesses interested in donating to the program.
Opened in 1976, WCS has 289 students from pre-kindergarten through high school. Families pay tuition and fees between $7,000 and $8,000 per student, depending on age.
Programs like this help provide families school choice, which can be important if a student can benefit from specialized help or programs offered at schools like WCS, Otto said.
“We have options of where we shop for gas, where we shop for clothes. Especially with something as important as education, it’s good to have options to pick somewhere that may have programs that will benefit your family,” Otto said.
“It’s a way to keep your tax dollars local. You’ll be paying that money to the state, or this way you can contribute that money to a cause that allows local low-income families to have another school choice.”
For WCS families, scholarship opportunities can be especially beneficial, she said.
“It makes a tremendous difference. A lot of our families are sacrificing … they’re giving up something else to have their children here,” Otto said.
Those interested in more information about the program can contact Otto firstname.lastname@example.org.