Their eldest son needed private school. That was an easy decision for Lucie and Darren Brand. Figuring out how to pay for it was not.
The couple run a successful home staging business in Pickering, Ontario, but raising four children is expensive. Still, they knew something had to be done about Josiah’s education.
“He had been diagnosed with ADHD,” says Lucie Brand. “He was really struggling in the public school.”
“He was just taking attendance, not absorbing the information and learning. They were at a loss with what to do for Joe. There just weren’t the resources to help him the way he needed to be helped. He was falling further and further behind.”
The Brands found out about a program called Arrowsmith, created for kids with learning disabilities. It wasn’t offered in the publicly-funded schools in their area, but was available at nearby Pickering Christian School.
Joe attended the school in grades seven and eight. “The cost was enormous,” says Brand, but she has no regrets.
“I absolutely and completely loved this school. I wish that I could have sent all my kids there.”
How did they make it happen?
Brand says the school let them know about a federal government tax credit available to families of children with disabilities. The credit received – applied for each year since their son’s diagnosis – helped pay for the first year of private school.
The couple also put their annual tax refund toward the school tuition.
“We would pay a chunk, and then we paid it monthly. That seemed to be a bit more manageable.”
The family also made sacrifices in other areas, as well.
“We had boarders living with us, and that helped us with our mortgage payment,” says Brand.
“We would have been further along in our house. We had to refinance.”
She says they weren’t able to put as much money toward paying off household debt as they normally would.
“We didn’t go on large family holidays. “It’s basically you deciding what your money is going towards,” says Brand.
“And you live accordingly. We did that for him.”