School profiled in Star reaps a credit bonanza
Dec. 13,  2004
Ochoa Elementary School has received $15,090 in tax credit donations so far this year, almost four times more than in 2003.
Ochoa, in the Tucson Unified School District, was profiled in the Arizona Daily Star as part of the national Make a Difference Day effort.
The school is on the dividing line between South Tucson and the city of Tucson, and it faces the challenges of low test scores, high poverty, students who are learning English as a second or third language, and many kids who move and change schools frequently.
Because Star readers from across Tucson directed their tax credit money to the school, Ochoa students will be able to see their lessons come to life through field trips, said Yolanda Sethi, who works with parents and the community at Ochoa.
"Teachers are going to take students to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum or the planetarium - before we didn't have the money to go, and now we can go," she said. "Otherwise, kids are just learning what they're learning out of books and what the teacher is telling them.
"If you take them to where the experts are, where the animals are, it makes a difference," Sethi said.
Ochoa's site council, made up of parents, teachers, community members and the principal, will decide how to spend the money.
Schools don't have to spend their donations all at once, and Ochoa wants to be prepared in case donations aren't as plentiful next year without the publicity of newspaper articles. Ochoa received $4,100 in tax credit money in 2003, according to state data.
"We have to make this money last," Sethi said.