Use of private school tax credit program increasing

The state program that provides tax credits to send students to private school is growing rapidly, according to a new report. 

The law grants tax credits to individuals and businesses that make donations for scholarships that allow certain low-income students to attend private schools. 

In the 2017-18 school year, 292 students have been awarded scholarships. That is an increase from 204 students the previous year and 109 students in the 2015-16 school year. The program started in 2015. 

The total dollar amount of scholarships continues to increase too, from $270,654 in 2015-16 to $675,893 in the current school year.  

Contributions and tax credits also have increased. In the 2015 tax year, $776,000 was contributed, yielding $543,200 in tax credits. That figure has increased to $5.2 million in contributions and $3.64 million in tax credits. 

Under the law, individuals or companies can contribute to a designated scholarship-granting organization and receive a 70 percent tax credit of the contribution. The total amount of credits cannot exceed $10 million per year and the total contributions cannot exceed $500,000 per contributor. 

Seventy-eight percent of the students using the scholarships are going to Catholic schools and most of those are in Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka.  

Details of the program are contained in an annual report given to the Legislature by the Kansas State Department of Education.  

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