By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Despite the school’s financial woes, a Philadelphia judge has ruled that Girard College may not drop its high school and boarding programs.

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The board that oversees the 165-year-old school says the decision threatens its financial stability.

“Unfortunately, the court has chosen a path that only prolongs the financial uncertainty that now threatens the future of Girard College, so we respectfully disagree with the decision,” says Kevin Feeley,  a spokesman for the Board of Directors of City Trusts, which oversees the school, operated through a bequest of 19th-century Philadelphia fiancier Stephen Girard.

Feely says it is uncertain if there will be an appeal.

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“Some of the board members still have not seen the opinion yet,” he said today.  “It literally arrived last evening (Monday), and so I think the board is going to take the time to consider the judge’s opinion and look at its options and  see what it wants to do next on how to preserve the legacy of Stephen Girard and Girard College.”

The board petitioned to do away with the high school and boarding school programs to preserve its funds, which it says could be depleted in 25 years.

Philadelphia Orphans Court judge Joseph O’Keefe denied the board’s request, saying the programs were critical in merchant-banker Stephen Girard’s vision of creating the free boarding school for poor orphans.


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