The Southside Christian School and the First Presbyterian Academy have also guaranteed the loans, which do not have to be repaid if the conditions are met. St. Joseph Catholic School did not return any messages.

The wealthiest and most prestigious private school in Greenville, Christ Church Episcopal School, got a loan under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, and the school plans to use a large portion money to pay its 200 employees, officials said.

The private school secured the loan through the Small Business Administration program which quickly ran out with $ 350 billion in seed funding. Congress then replenished it with an additional $ 310 billion, with nearly $ 120 billion remaining on May 12.

Christ Church declined to say how much he received through the program.

At least 89 private schools across the state have applied for PPP loans, including First Presbyterian Academy and Southside Christian School in Greenville County. As of May 8, nearly 56,000 entities in South Carolina were able to obtain loans totaling more than $ 5.8 billion, according to the SBA.

Loans to private schools have since been criticized by President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after media reported schools with large endowments secured millions of dollars in loans they did not really need. .

On the same day, news broke that Mnuchin’s children were attending an elite private school in Los Angeles that had raised millions through the program, Mnuchin. tweeted, “It has come to our attention that some private schools with large endowments have taken out #PPP loans. They should return them.

Trump’s son Barron attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland, which retained the money received under the loan program. Trump spokesperson Judd Deere said POLITICS“The president made it clear that he did not believe that private schools with large endowments should receive PPP money, and that those who received it should consider returning it.”

Critics of the Trump administration forced schools to consider whether to accept the money or return it under public political pressure, even if they qualified for aid.

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Officials at Christ Church – which has 1,100 students, annual tuition fees of nearly $ 22,000 and an endowment that as of June 2019 stood at $ 15.7 million – said the school was on target loan and had requested it only after careful consideration of finances.

Low interest loans were designed to help small businesses weather the financial crisis and pay or rehire employees. Loans can largely be canceled if they are used to cover salary expenses.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CCES has faced a definite and substantial drop in its revenues and the prospect of budget deficits over the next school year and beyond,” said the director of the CCES school, Leonard Kupersmith and Doug Qualls, deputy director of finance and operations, in an emailed statement.

Christ Church has revised its budget to expect fewer students next school year, and school officials have “we are armed for setbacks“said Kupersmith.

According to the CCES, approximately one in five CCES students received financial assistance to attend school in 2018-19, which covered 11% of the school’s total tuition fees. This aid comes largely from its endowment.

The school expects the number of students in need of financial aid to increase.

The school said economic uncertainty and the “high probability that CCES students will have an increased demand for financial aid in the next school year made the loan a necessity if the CCES were to continue its current operations. ‘in a way that is not significantly detrimental to the school and its nearly 1,100 students.

An endowment is a donation of money to a nonprofit organization that allows the organization to tap into the investment income of the donation to use it for specific expenses, usually while leaving the original donation amount intact.

Christ Church’s endowments consisted of nearly four dozen segregated funds, some controlled by the school, others by individuals, some earmarked for needs-based scholarships, others for operations, and others. funding for specific activities such as the arts.

Kupersmith and Qualls said the CCES endowment is not the size of many of its peer schools. The school budgeted for a levy on its endowment “in accordance with prudent budget management and applicable donor restrictions that do not allow endowment funds to be used to offset annual operating deficits.”

St. Andrews, where Trump’s son is dating, announced a $ 9 million endowment in 2017, according to The New York Times. Brentwood School in Los Angeles, where Mnuchin’s children attend, declared an endowment of $ 17.4 million in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Christ Church has by far the largest endowment of any private K-12 school in Greenville, according to a review of available tax returns. Some of the other local private schools have applied for PPP loans.

Patti Wilusz, communications coordinator with Shannon Forest Christian School, which merged with First Presbyterian Academy last year, confirmed that the school had received a PPP loan.

Southside Christian School superintendent Sam Barfell said his school also received a P3 loan in the second round of funding. He declined to share the loan amount, but said it would be used for payroll and other expenses that meet federal guidelines to be 100% forgivable.

The News called and emailed questions to St. Joseph’s Catholic School, but did not receive a response.

Bob Jones Academy did not apply for a loan through the P3 program, said Randy Page, a spokesperson for the school.

Christ Church said he was confident his loan complied with the rules and guidelines of the Paycheck Protection Program “as well as the intent behind the law.”

Kupersmith and Qualls said the school is grateful for the loan funds that will allow the school to support its employees “and continue its mission of preparing young people for college and ultimately to be productive participants in our local community “.

– Ariel Gilreath contributed to this report.

Nathaniel Cary is an investigative reporter for The Greenville News. He can be reached at [email protected] or @nathanielcary on Twitter.

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