As families of students at the five schools that are closing at the end of the school year explore other Catholic school options, a question keeps popping up: How will I afford a new school?
The BASIC Fund, which stands for Bay Area Scholarships for Inner-City Children, is a privately funded non-profit organization that helps low-income families afford the cost of tuition at private schools in the Bay Area.
About 125 children at the five schools that are closing receive BASIC grants, said Rachel Elginsmith, executive director. Those families are being contacted by the organization and assured that if the family continues to be financially eligible, those funds will go with the child to another private school.
Elginsmith also said that families that are sending a new sibling to school for the first time may trigger BASIC fund eligibility for the entire family.
Scholarships are awarded to low-income families who are entering private school for the first time, and have children entering kindergarten through the eighth grade in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Napa, Solano or Sonoma counties.
Families that in the past may not have applied for the BASIC grant are encouraged to fill out the form, and include a note that the child is in one of the five schools that are closing. Forms are available at www.basicfund.org. Deadline is March 10; after that, a wait list will be developed.
The maximum BASIC grant is $1,600 per child.
About 50 children at the schools that are closing receive grants from FACE through the Diocese of Oakland. Those funds, too, travel with the child to another Catholic elementary school in the diocese, said Philip Toups, interim director of mission advancement.
Those grants are $1,750 for elementary school children.
Applications are available at www.oakdiocese.org/giving/face/applying-for-a-grant/face-application-page. Deadline for submission is March 16.
Families applying for elementary school or high school aid who have not received FACE funding this year and who do not have children in grades K-3 are not encouraged to apply as it is very unlikely they will receive a FACE grant.
Students may accept a grant from FACE or BASIC, but not both.
The schools that are closing at the end of the 2016-17 school year are St. Jarlath, St. Lawrence O'Toole and St. Martin de Porres in Oakland; St. Jerome in El Cerrito; and Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.
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