Judge: Girard College Can’t Close Its High School

In a ruling that "dismayed" the board that oversees Girard College, a judge said the school can't end student boarding and can't close its high school.

A judge ruled Monday that Girard College can’t close its high school and must remain a boarding school. The surprise ruling is a blow to the leaders of the school, who wished to eliminate boarding and the high school in order to improve Girard College’s finances.

The Inquirer reports the ruling “shocked and dismayed the Board of Directors of City Trusts,” which oversees Girard. When the board requested the ability to end student boarding and shutter the high school, it said Girard would be forced to close within 25 years if the request were denied.

“All day I’ve been jumping around,” student body president Brandon Dixon told the Inquirer. “I’m happy.” Meanwhile, board spokesman Kevin Feeley said that “the court has chosen the path that only prolongs the financial uncertainty that now threatens the future of Girard College.”

Three hundred students from first through 12th grades attend Girard. The school wished to change to a 425-student elementary school serving students from first through eighth grades.

Incidentally, the Girard College website has a list of suggestions from the public on how to save the school that it posted on its website for some reason.

I particularly like the suggestion of having student workers replace actual workers. There’s also a predictable suggestion (that, again, Girard actually posted on its own website): “Balance the diversity of the student body to match the outside world so that Girard College will not be perceived as only supporting one segment of the population.” Girard was integrated in 1968 after a lawsuit and massive protests; girls were admitted in 1984 after another one.

The board has not said whether it will appeal the ruling.