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MICDS joins list of private schools returning federal coronavirus relief funds

MICDS joins list of private schools returning federal coronavirus relief funds

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Students use a new staircase at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, on Friday, April 25, 2014 in Ladue. The new construction and renovations at MICDS make up 86,000 square feet. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle, scordle@post-dispatch.com

LADUE — Leaders at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School have joined other private schools in returning federal coronavirus aid intended for small businesses, a spokeswoman for the school said Tuesday.

The school applied for and received in April an undisclosed loan "commensurate with our size as an employer with nearly 300 employees," said MICDS spokeswoman Amy Zlatic.

After evaluating "the appropriateness of the funds for our independent school," school leaders canceled the loan on Friday, she said.

Last week, John Burroughs School in Ladue returned $2.55 million from the same federal coronavirus aid package for small businesses. A spokeswoman for Independent Schools of St. Louis has not responded to inquiries about other local private schools that may have received the loans.

The private schools are among several across the U.S. that received loans this spring through the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. The loans, backed by the Small Business Administration, are designed to help pay for workers’ salaries and are forgivable if certain parameters are met.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this month that private schools with endowments should return the money. President Donald Trump later echoed the sentiment through a spokesman.

Last month, MICDS said tuition will be lowered by $2,000 for the 2020-2021 school year because of financial fallout from the pandemic. The discount was announced before the school applied for the federal loan, Zlatic said.

Annual tuition at the school ranges from $21,160 in the elementary grades to $29,040 for middle and high school. About one in four students at the school receives financial aid, according to the MICDS website.

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