Sports Stories
Imagine the excitement a child gets after he or she comes home and tells a parent they just made their grade school volleyball team.
By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

Imagine the excitement a child gets after he or she comes home and tells a parent they just made their grade school volleyball team.

How about when the child couldn’t stop talking about the team’s trip to Phoenix in a van that the coach drove while en route to a weekend basketball tournament.

Or imagine a high school baseball player talking about getting the big hit to win his team a game while the family is sitting down to eat dinner.

Think about all the camaraderie a student athlete has with his other teammates and classmates and how all of what they do builds character without them even knowing it.

Many times they become a legend in their own right for things they do on the court or field and classmates respect them for their abilities.

Years later that child is all grown up and more times than not, appreciates everything the coaches, athletic directors and opposing teams did to help shape and mold their life.

What if we were to take all of this away from a child?

What if there wasn’t a grade school volleyball team, or trip to Phoenix over a weekend, nor the equipment to get that hit to win a game?

Kids may find other constructive things to do such as drugs or gangs or participate in being a couch potato the rest of their lives.

Whether we like it or not, most things come down to one thing, money.

There are things called “budgets” that every school in the Sedona-Oak Creek School District must have in order to run an athletic program.

The budget provided by the district to the schools never comes close to covering every penny needed to allow these young children to participate in athletics.

Enter the Kids Tax Credit Program.

Big Park Community School, West Sedona School and Sedona Red Rock High School all participate in the Kids Tax Credit Program because a good chunk of their athletic budgets come from this one program.

“I believe sports are an

important part of education and the Kids Tax Credit Program is essential to our athletic programs,” West Sedona Principal Lisa Hirsch said.

Everything is attached to the budgets from referees to tournament fees, travel, uniforms, equipment, scoreboard operators, chain gangs and even score book keepers.

SOCSD provides $16,427 for coaches’ salaries at West Sedona and Big Park receives around the same amount.

The rest of the money needed to have a volleyball, flag football, boys and girls basketball, track, cross country, baseball and softball team must come from tax credit and other donations.

“The tax credit program is very important because it pays for transportation, referees, scoreboard people, equipment and helps me purchase other things needed for these teams,” Big Park Athletic Director Diana Morison said.

All of these costs could run the bill up to about $12,000 for one academic year of athletic programs at the middle-school level.

At the high-school level, Sedona Red Rock High School  needs about $185,000 total to run its athletic department.

About 25 percent, or around $45,000 comes from the tax credit program.

“This tax credit program is invaluable. I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have it,” Sedona Athletic Director John Parks said.

The Arizona Tax Credit Program began in Sedona about 10 years ago and gives full credit for one’s contribution and reduces their Arizona tax liability.

“It’s better than tax reduction because this gives you a dollar-for-dollar reduction on your state income tax,” Parks said.

For eaxample, if you donate $200 for athletic programs you can deduct $200 directly from what you owe.

You can pick up a tax credit pamphlet at any of the three schools or at the main SOCSD office.

You may also visit the district Web site at

Deadline is Monday, Dec. 31.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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