Girard College layoffs, again

Girard College, the free residential school controlled by Philadelphia's Board of City Trusts from its walled campus (built and still maintained by the legacy of immigrant millionaire Stephen Girard), plans to end jobs for 8 teachers and support staff as enrollment continues to shrink, board spokesman Kevin Feeley (Girard '73) told me, after I asked about rumors of impending layoffs posted at AHummersView.org and other sites frequented by Girard alumni.

Before the layoffs, the school employed 196 to serve its 465 remaining students, about one-quarter of its peak past enrollment, (Update:) though more than the number Feeley says attended when he was a student in the 1970s. There's a waiting list to get in, but the board has been cutting class sizes because, it says, it has less money available to pay school expenses.

School leader Autumn Graves announced her resignation earlier this month, past chairman John Egan (a former Philadelphia Stock Exchange president-turned lobbyist, and a Republican) has departed the board - it's now headed by city Register of Wills Ron Donatucci (one of the few Democrats to head the Girard board over the years) - and trustees have commissioned a new strategic plan, while trying to cope with legal restrictions and low investment yields.

Members of three unions representing Girard staff have been laboring without contracts, Dan Garrett, head of the residential advisors' union, told me. "Four straight years of staff reductions (have been) directly attributed to poor performing investment outcomes," he noted.

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