OAKLAND, Calif. Faced with public school closings in Oaklands financially troubled school district, hundreds of east bay families have been left wondering where their children will go to school next year. Now, those families have an opportunity to apply for privately funded tuition scholarships, allowing them to attend private or parochial schools of their choice for the 2004-2005 school year, through the Independent Scholarship Fund.
Students from low- to moderate-income homes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, grades K-12, are invited to apply to the Independent Scholarship Fund (ISF) for assistance with tuition payments based on personal merit and family need. The application deadline is May 7, 2004.
The ISF offers a choice, an alternative, for families in the East Bay who want their children to receive the kind of quality education in a safe environment that has traditionally remained out of reach. said David J. Theroux, founder and president of the Oakland-based Independent Institute, which created the scholarship program.
Since 1999, the ISF has granted over 1000 scholarships to children whose families sought help in sending them to private schools of their choice. The Independent Institute, which administers the program, relies on generous donations from a wide range of local foundations dedicated to improving youth education. The Fund granted 250 scholarships last year; it expects to award more than 300 scholarships for the 2004-2005 school year. Current recipients attend 91 diverse schoolsincluding 52 schools in Alameda County and 39 schools in Contra Costa County.
ISF scholarships pay up to 75 percent of the cost of a students tuition, up to $1,500 each school year. Parents are responsible for the remaining portiona proviso that encourages positive parental involvement in their childs education, according to Mr. Theroux.
National data indicate that dollar-for-dollar private schools are more productive than their public counterparts, Mr. Theroux said. The well-documented benefits of increased competition between public and private schools reinforce our commitment to improving access to high-quality education for young people in the East Bay. The continued growth of this program will enable more families of modest means to choose the best education for their children.
To obtain a scholarship application and for further information about the ISF, please contact Alice Schmidt, director, Independent Scholarship Fund, by mail at 100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621, by telephone at (510) 632-1366 x152, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Families may also download an application from The Independent Institutes website: http://www.independent.org/tii/students/isf.html