Thursday, May 21, 2009

RISD cutting staff, to close museum for August

Rhode Island School of Design plans to cut staff by 15 to 20 and close its museum for the month of August because of a significant decline in the Providence school’s endowment, according to the school.

RISD reports that the endowment lost a third of its value since its peak of $347 million in December 2007.

Layoffs will reduce RISD’s staff of some 555 people by about 3 percent, the school says. Two open positions will not be filled. A voluntary retirement program offered to staff since March helped reduce job cuts “by more than 50 percent,” RISD spokeswoman Jaime Marland tells me.

“RISD is not implementing an official hiring freeze, but rather looking at each position on a case-by-case basis and selectively hiring based on overall strategic and operational needs of the College,” the school reports.

The budget for the school’s next fiscal year, which begins July 1, calls for spending to remain level at $124 million and for no wage increases for the upcoming year. To help students affected by the global financial crisis, RISD says it will increase the amount of financial aid it offers to students by $1.2 million next year and slow the rate of tuition increases (a 4.9 percent increase to $36,371 for next year; compared to a 5.5 percent increase this school year).


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