Seizing an opportnity

June 27th, 2015 1:23 am

First Posted: 5/24/2013

Pittston Area’s Education Improvement Organization (PAEIO) on Thursday will host area businesses in an information session to promote the benefits of contributing to their organization in exchange for substantial tax credits.

The presentation will give business leaders an overview on how they could benefit from tax credits, how they can apply and what types of projects the contributions will fund.

“Basically, it’s a way for us to provide more opportunities to the kids because all the money goes to them.” Pittston Area School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Garzella said.

“This is a great way for us to do that and without burdening the taxpayers.”

By contributing to the program, businesses would receive a tax credit equal to 75 percent of its donation or up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year. If that organization agrees to duplicate a donation over two consecutive years, the credit increases to 90 percent of the contribution made.

Those contributions go directly towards new and innovative projects within the school district that would provide students and teachers with the most up-to-date resources and learning tools.

To meet approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, the projects are required to be innovative in nature and beyond the scale of any other projects the district is currently implementing.

“Our focus right now is really on bringing technology into the classroom and providing kids with portable devices,” Garzella said.

“The projects we submitted this year are related to individualized instructions for kids and innovating digital concepts in the classroom.”

Those concepts can focus on anything from reading/literacy to mathematics or science.

Though the foundation has already been in existence for some time, Garzella said it got off the ground recently when the school board was exploring additional sources of funding.

“Right now, the way education has been cut the past few years, any revenue source is one we need to explore and grow so we can maintain education,” he said.

“It’s really a win for the businesses, it’s the win for our school district and it’s a win for our kids.”

A 2003 amendment to the Public School Code allowed authorization to award tax credits to businesses which donated to approved educational improvement organizations, a status PAEIO achieved when they were officially recognized as a non-profit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

They’re recognized within the commonwealth as an Educational Improvement Organization by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, which will have a representative on hand to answer questions following Thursday’s session.

The presentation will begin at 8 a.m. and is open to the public.