New homeschooling coop opening in San Pablo

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A nonprofit cooperative that offers tutoring programs for homeschooled children was granted a conditional use permit to operate in San Pablo by the city’s Planning Commission Tuesday.

The tutoring center for local homeschooled students from grades K-5 and their parents will be operated by the nonprofit Universal Mercy Inc. in two suites at 2523 El Portal Drive, adjacent to Contra Costa College, according to city documents. The nonprofit, which has been operating in other different locations since 2016, offers educational services to students who are enrolled in homeschool programs, the city said.

Universal Mercy Inc. aims to have up to nine full-time employees, and up to 50 students from 33 different households at its new El Portal Drive location (many of the students are siblings and are in the same household). The location has designated outdoor space for playtime and recess, and along with tutoring rooms the location will feature computer rooms, offices, and a library and assembly hall, city documents state.

According to the proposal, the center is targeted toward the Muslim community of Richmond and surrounding areas. Its principal, Hamza Mehter, says his daughter will be among the students served.