Tax Credit - Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA)
Tax Credit contributions are incredibly helpful and needed by every program in a school. Your contribution helps to sustain the current program and to also advance the program from where it is right now. Funding for programs is always a challenge and some programs require more funding to exist than you may realize.
Please, please, please, use your Tax Credit (ECA) contribution every year. There is no reason not to. As a taxpayer, you are able to directly decide where this money is allocated. If a Tax Credit contribution is not used, the funds are sent to the capitol and then divided up by those elected and appointed to be in charge of budgeting for the state.
What are ECA funds used for?
Below is a general listing of what ECA funds are used for and how much these items cost. Your contribution doesn't only affect students in the current year. These items are maintained and used for years (decades) after purchase.
If you're wondering why the instrument costs shown below are more than the instruments you can find at many big box and online retailers, it has to do with durability, design, and ability to be repaired. There are many ways to construct an instrument using different materials, soldering techniques, and automation. The instruments purchased by the schools are chosen because they are durable, well constructed, designed with excellent acoustics, use high quality metals/alloys/rubbers/plastics and solder, and can be repaired.
I've worked in instrument repair shops and seen the difference in build quality between a $100 clarinet and $400-$500 clarinet. Many shops in town will refuse to work on certain brands of instruments because they cannot be repaired. In fact, attempting to repair the super-low cost instruments will cause the repair to become more extensive.
Average Instrument Costs
Instruments are one of the main uses for ECA contributions. Below is an average cost of the different instrument brands/models available for each instrument type.
Flute - $350
Clarinet - $400
Bass clarinet - $1,600
Alto saxophone - $850
Tenor saxophone - $1,150
Trumpet - $475
Trombone - $500
Horn - $1,400
Baritone/Euphonium - $1,600
Tuba - $3,500
Music for concerts is another area that ECA contributions are used. Sheet music, like Elves R Us and Dragon Slayer, can be purchased with ECA funds. These songs have a cost of approximately $40-$60 for each title.
Unfortunately, ECA funds cannot be used to purchase method books like Essential Elements or Measures of Success. I've tried to make this happen numerous times and I'm told each time that method books fall into a different category of purchases.