Seminaire de Sherbrooke, the alma mater of Premier Jean Charest, is the third school revealed to have received grants from Hydro-Quebec as a firestorm rages over the utility's donations to private institutions.

The school says it will be keeping its grant, worth $180,000 over the next eight years.

College Jean-de-Brebeuf and College Notre-Dame decided to turn down their Hydro endowments following an uproar over the fact that Hydro-Quebec CEO Thierry Vandal once attended both institutions.

Damage control

The Charest government and the utility have scrambled this week to head off controversy over the endowments, with Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau acknowledging the utility made errors in judgment.

Opposition parties say Vandal was in a conflict of interest but Normandeau says Vandal did nothing wrong. Hydro-Quebec announced Tuesday that it would no longer donate money to private schools.

Brebeuf is returning a $200,000 donation from the utility and College Notre-Dame said it was giving back the $50,000 installment that it received last year that was to have been the first part of a $250,000 endowment.

Public institutions, including the chairman of Lester B. Pearson school board, expressed outrage that private schools got money from the Crown corporation while public schools were left out in the cold.