Private school serving low-income youth targets Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A private catholic school aimed at serving low-income families is looking to move to Richmond.

Right now, the Cristo Rey Network is conducting a feasibility study on community interest.

Study chairman Alexa Quinn said Cristo Rey schools offer something that no one else can.

“This school is able to take the child where they are, surround them with support, academic support ,support for their families, all while they give them a college prep education,” said Alexa Quinn.

Business sponsors pay tuition and in return, they hire students to work one full day a week.

“They’re seeing what their education can get them all of a sudden they want that job, they want to go to college,” said Quinn.

There is an income cap, so all students enrolled come from families who make less than $35,000 a year.

“If you can afford to come, we don’t want you,” said Quinn.

The school has already received full support from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

The executive director of advancement for the diocese said these schools benefit the entire city.

“Whenever you can give someone a better education it decreases the chance that they’re going to turn to gangs or crime or something that’s not helpful to the whole community,” said Margaret Keightly.

Margaret Keightly said this school isn’t meant to take away from Richmond Public Schools, it actually helps them.

“We’re taking some kids who need extra attention, extra help,” said Keightly. “As we know, they don’t have the resources to serve everybody to the extent that they need to be served.”

The study will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, and if Cristo Rey does select Richmond, it could begin accepting students as soon as fall 2017.

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