By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Brentwood School, an elite K-12 institution attended by Palisadian families, requested, received and has since returned federal coronavirus aid money intended to help small businesses survive the pandemic and help keep employees on their payroll.
Representatives from the school shared in a statement that the decision on April 3 to apply for the Payroll Protection Program under the CARES Act “involved an in-depth evaluation of the school’s financial position in relation to the originally published government guidelines,” explaining that a great deal had changed in the weeks since then.
Over the course of last week, representatives reported that they “carefully considered the added clarifications,” touching on the fact that not all who qualify will receive PPP funds.
“Given these factors, the Board has voted unanimously to decline the loan,” the statement said. “We have returned the funds so they can be distributed to others who are in greater need of the assistance.”
The statement, released May 4, came four days after the Los Angeles Times originally reported Brentwood School had received the loan, which is backed by the Small Business Administration and forgivable if certain parameters are met.
“The president has made clear that he does not believe private schools with significant endowments should be receiving [Paycheck Protection Program] money and those that have should consider returning it,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said Friday, May 1 according to the LA Times.
Brentwood’s tuition ranges from $37,500 to $44,000 per student. According to the school’s most recent publicly available tax return, in 2017 Brentwood had $117 million of assets with total annual revenue of $52.6 million.
In the Palisades, a representative from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on behalf of Corpus Christi School confirmed “the school did apply and has received PPP funding.”
The school, a TK through eighth grade parochial school serving the Catholic faith community of Pacific Palisades and surrounding areas, has a tuition that ranges from $10,000 to $14,000, with financial aid available to contributing parishioners.
The representative explained that all 240 Catholic schools within the Archdiocese’s jurisdiction, which typically run on a bit of a deficit, applied for funding and the Palisades school does not have a large endowment. The LA Times reported that 39 schools have been successful in receiving PPP funding as of May 1.
A question of how much funding was awarded to the school was not answered as the Post went to print.
Village School and Calvary Christian School reported that they did not apply for the program.
“Due to a tradition of sound financial leadership and the generosity of the school community, Village has been able to retain all our employees throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” Village Head of School Nora Malone shared with the Palisadian-Post. “In recognition that other small businesses face more precarious financial situations and in alignment with the Village Values—in particular, responsibility and fairness—the leadership of the school chose not to apply for a PPP loan.”
As the Post went to print Tuesday, St. Matthew’s and Seven Arrows Elementary schools did not respond to request for comments on whether or not the schools applied for or received funds.
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