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Nevada businesses can help lower-income students

Although tax season has passed for most of us, I want to remind Nevada business owners about an opportunity to make a direct impact on the lives of Nevada’s lower-income families, and the education their children receive.

As a result of a state legislative change in 2015, Nevada businesses can allocate all or a portion of what they owe in Modified Business Tax to fund student scholarships at Nevada’s K-12 private schools or to pay for transportation to and from charter schools.

While businesses will receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for the amount they allocate to the Opportunity Scholarship program, what the families receive can be life-changing.

That’s why Bank of Nevada has contributed a significant amount of funds to this program since 2016. I want to encourage other Nevada businesses that owe Modified Business Tax to consider a similar contribution because I know the impact it could have on a child’s future.

All parents want the best education possible for their children. However, due to economic circumstances, some families don’t have choices. That’s where the Opportunity Scholarship can help.

There are six organizations recognized by the State of Nevada that can award Opportunity Scholarships to families who meet the eligibility guidelines. All Nevada families who earn 300 percent of the federal poverty level — or less — can apply for the scholarship. Generally, a family of four making about $79,000 or less would be eligible. An Opportunity Scholarship provides recipient families the freedom to give their students the best education as they see fit. Unfortunately, the best school is not always the school closest to their home.

Tax credit programs like this have been available in other states for years, but it is still relatively new in Nevada. So far, 2,308 Nevada families have taken advantage of the program.

The Nevada Department of Education determines the maximum amount of scholarship funding any student can receive based on a per pupil formula. Currently, the maximum scholarship amount is $8,469. Those funds can be used for charter or private school tuition, fees or transportation.

Typically, the scholarship application period falls between January and March, and funds are awarded first-come, first-served. Families are encouraged to apply early and to all the organizations. A student may receive more than one scholarship, but the total amount of that scholarship cannot exceed $8,469.

Families can apply through the following organizations registered with the Nevada Department of Education to administer the Opportunity Scholarship . The organizations serve the entire State of Nevada.

• AAA Scholarship Foundation: aaascholarships.org

• Dinosaurs & Roses: dinosaursandroses.org

• Education Fund of Northern Nevada: efnn.org

• America’s Scholarship Konnection: askscholarships.org

• The Injured Police Officers Fund: IPOF.vegas

• Student Choice Fund of Nevada: studentchoicefundofnevada.org

For additional information about the Opportunity Scholarship, go to nevadaschoolchoice.com.

John Guedry is division CEO of Bank of Nevada. He has more than 38 years of financial services expertise working with a wide range of businesses and industries in Southern Nevada. He is also a longtime supporter of educational efforts that increase the availability of STEM curriculum, promote higher student achievement and create better long-term outcomes for students, especially those from disadvantaged families.

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