Each year, the Petal School District offers residents and businesses the change to contribute to the district’s Early Learning Collaborative – which supports area Pre-K efforts – with the added benefit of receiving tax credits on the next year’s tax filings.
The First Bank stepped up to that task this year, donating $100,000 to the collaborative at a recent meeting of the Petal School District Board of Trustees. The check was given to district superintendent Matt Dillon by DeeDee Lowery and Pacely Alford of The First.
“Obviously, it’s a blessing to get an investment like that in an organization to benefit early childhood and Pre-K efforts in our district,” Dillon said. “So we’re very thankful for that, very appreciative, and that will go a long way in our continued efforts to focus on early childhood education in our school district.”
Representatives from The First did not respond to calls for comment.
Per terms of the tax credit program, donors may be eligible to receive a 1:1 state tax credit for the donated amount, up to $1 million. In addition to the state tax credit, a tax deduction may also be available for federal taxes.
Under the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013, the costs for providing Pre-K services to 4-year-old children amount to $4,300 per child in full-day programs and $2,150 per child enrolled in half-day programs. The state of Mississippi provides half of these costs, but requires that the other half be provided by local matching funds, which may include local tax dollars, federal dollars as allowed or donations.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue can approve 1:1 tax credits up the amount approved by the Mississippi Legislature, which has been set at a total $6.5 million. Individuals who make a donation after that total sum (or cap) has been reached will not be eligible to receive the tax credit.
“I think this is just always a reminder at this time of the year, as we look out to close out this year, that the Pre-K Tax Collaborative is so important,” Dillon said. “We’re very blessed; not every district in the state has the opportunity to be part of the collaborative, to receive tax credit dollars.
“So every year, our district has led the amount of money raised through this tax credit effort, and this is open not only to organizations, but to businesses as well that would like to participate. We’re just so thankful for this major investment and contribution from The First Bank.”Individuals or businesses wishing to take advantage of the tax credit can contact the Petal School District Central Office at (601) 545-3002. Donated funds are mainly used to increase parent engagement by providing parent academies where parents can learn how to become involved in their child’s education.