Update: Brentwood School has informed us that the school has returned the load. See the statement below explaining the decision.
Federal Paycheck Protection Program loan given to Brentwood School
By Sam Catanzaro
An elite private school in Brentwood with ties to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Brentwood School announced in a recent newsletter that it has received a PPP loan. According to the letter, the loan was approved and funded in mid-April. Other elite private schools like Harvard-Westlake have announced that they did not apply for a PPP loan.
According to an IRS filing obtained by the Times, Brentwood School’s endowment was around $17.4 million in 2017. Tuition at Brentwood School ranges from $37,500 – $44,000.
Among Brentwood School’s over 1,100 students are the children of Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, according to the Times. While Mnuchin denied any knowledge of the loan, in a tweet the Treasury Secretary told private schools to return any loans the may have received.
“It has come to our attention that some private schools with significant endowments have taken #PPP loans. They should return them,” Mnuchin wrote.
Brentwood School’s newsletter announcing the PPP funding did not specify the loan amount.
The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to Brentwood School asking given the size of the school’s endowment, how can the school justify applying and keeping a loan meant for small businesses that have little to no money in their pockets. In addition, the Mirror asked if the school has had any contact or conversations with Mnuchin or a member of the federal government prior to receiving the loan and if they plan on returning the loan. After 72 hours, the school has not responded.
Brentwood School’s decision on April 3rd 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. However, a great deal has changed in the intervening weeks. In that time, the government has published a number of updates and revisions to the original parameters as it became clear the federal funds initially provided were not enough to staunch the incredible need that exists nationally.
Throughout the last week, we carefully considered the added clarifications as well as the growing understanding that, unfortunately, not all who qualify will receive PPP funds. Given these factors, the Board has voted unanimously to decline the loan. We have returned the funds so they can be distributed to others who are in greater need of the assistance.
Without the PPP funds, cost cutting measures and focused fiscal management are more important than ever. We are working to maintain the school’s financial health while preserving the full Brentwood experience as delivered daily by our faculty and staff. We are tremendously grateful for the loyalty and continued support of our current families, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni, and faculty and staff, and we have confidence in our ability to face these challenges together.