By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — Residents 62 years and older in the Boyceville school district will now be able to earn a property tax credit for volunteering in the schools.
The Senior Tax Exchange Program (STEP) was approved at the annual meeting of the Boyceville Community School District October 15.
The program will go into effect immediately, said Kevin Sipple, district administrator.
Through STEP, school district residents who are at least 62 years old will be able to earn a property tax credit of up to $429 per fiscal year for volunteering in the Boyceville schools.
Several people have called the school district to ask if Boyceville could start the program, Sipple said.
STEP “offers tax relief and brings people of that age group into the schools. Young people will be able to see what older people have to offer,” he said.
The program will be funded out of the school district’s Community Education fund and is limited to not more than two eligible residents for the same property. Two people can share work to meet the $429 maximum for each primary residence, but the combined pay cannot exceed $429.
“We will be giving taxpayers money back for working in the schools,” Sipple said.
As of October 15, the Community Education fund had a balance of nearly $108,000. The tax levy for this year includes $60,000 for the Community Education fund.
The program will be based on the school’s fiscal year, from July to July. Volunteers will earn a tax credit at a rate of $7.25 per hour for up to 59 hours.
Some school districts offer the program only at 100 percent, which means residents must put in all of the time to earn the entire credit. Boyceville will fund the tax credit at 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent, Sipple said, noting that the partial funding of the credit can accommodate those who leave the area for the winter or if someone becomes ill.
At the end of the fiscal year, the school district will write a check made out to the taxpayer and to township or the village in the district where the taxpayer resides, Sipple said.
After the program has been approved at an annual meeting of the school district, it could only be discontinued through a vote of the electors at another annual meeting.
Sipple said he planned to include detailed information on STEP in the school district’s newsletter.
Volunteers can work in a variety of areas at both Tiffany Creek Elementary and at Boyceville Middle School and Boyceville High School.
On the application form, school district residents are asked to check off the areas in which they could be of assistance.
Volunteers opportunities are available in computers, math, reading, spelling, science, business/marketing, family and consumer education, keyboarding, writing, handwriting, music, art, physical education, technical education, foreign language and social studies.
District residents can also volunteer in special education to reinforce concepts and help develop motor skills.
District residents can assist as well with productions, sports, school publications, the library, health services, telephone, duplicating papers, filing papers, correcting papers, preparing bulletin boards, cooking, sewing, chaperoning, making props for plays, and discussing careers, training and school selection.
The application also includes a section for people to list other talents, hobbies, interests or skills that they would like to share with students.
Getting STEP up and running takes a bit of time and effort, Sipple said, but other school districts he has talked to that have implemented the program say it has been positive and rewarding.
For more information about STEP, contact the Boyceville school district at (715) 643-4311.