PREPARING FOR THE START OF THE YEAR
As you read this, we are at the end of August! September 1 marks, for students, the start of another school year. The summer activities to prepare our buildings have drawn and we are set for students and staff to regularly appear at the building sites. As we begin the year, I want to take time to address a couple topics.
STAFF HAS BEEN PREPARING
As I have shared in other writings, the calendar is different this year with the very late Labor Day weekend and a very early start to some of our activities. We have had all staff members return to the district for workshop and in-service time in preparation for the school year.
All staff members returned to school last week with workshop and in-service days scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday were focused on building level issues while Thursday was a district day.
It was a pleasure to have community businesses present for the luncheon on Thursday—we learned a great deal about many of the local businesses and, I trust, businesses learned a little bit about ROCORI!
Because of the uncertainty of what the legislature would allow, we do have our keynote presentation to staff set for Thursday, September 3. School will be in session in the morning for students and staff will be hearing from Kevin Honeycutt—a nationally recognized speaker. We are excited to bring Mr. Honeycutt to the district.
We have gotten a number of reminders, as the summer draws to a close, from state offices to encourage parents to keep their back to school receipts for tax purposes next spring. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has asked us to share information about the tax implications.
There are two state programs that help pay for education expenses – the Minnesota K‑12 Education Subtraction and the K-12 Education Credit. Many families do not know about, or take advantage of, these valuable tax benefits. These benefits can reduce parents’ taxes and increase their refund, but only if they keep their receipts.
Generally, most expenses paid for educational instruction or materials qualify, including paper, pens and notebooks; textbooks; rental or purchases of educational equipment such as musical instruments; computer hardware and educational software; after-school tutoring and educational summer camps taught by a qualified instructor.
Most Minnesota parents qualify for the K-12 subtraction, which reduces their taxable income. The K-12 subtraction lets you subtract qualifying educational expenses from your taxable income when you file a Minnesota income tax return. You may subtract up to $1,625 in education expenses for each child in grades kindergarten through 6, and $2,500 for each child in grades 7 through 12.
There is no income limit to qualify for the education subtraction, and you may qualify regardless of your filing status. However, the school your child attended must be located in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin.
Parents under certain income limits may also qualify for the K-12 credit, which can refund up to 75% of their costs – even for parents who don’t owe any taxes. The K-12 credit reduces your state income tax or increases your refund. If you meet the income requirements, you may claim this credit on your Minnesota income tax return for up to 75 percent of qualifying educational expenses. You may claim this credit and receive a refund even if you don’t owe income tax for the year.
To qualify for the K-12 credit, you must file as single, head of household, qualifying widow(er) or married filing a joint return. Married couples who file separate returns do not qualify for the credit.
You must have documentation — such as itemized cash register receipts and invoices —
to prove that you paid any expenses used to claim the K-12 credit or K-12 subtraction. You cannot claim both the subtraction and the credit for the same expense.
As the calendar continues to roll forward, there is no question we are at the start of another school year! Activities are underway and school begins, for students, on Tuesday, September 1!