POSTED: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 6:20pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:43am
JACKSONVILLE — An anonymous employee of Lon Morris College in Jacksonville says their employees got their last paycheck two weeks late and didn't receive their March 31st paycheck at all. Sources say the college was denied a loan that was supposed to finance the school, and it's fueling rumors that the school is bankrupt. We went to the college Tuesday to see what is going on.
We found that employees and students alike are concerned about the finances at Lon Morris. When we went to the college, we were quickly informed by officials that employees were told not to say a word.
One student, Theodore Lloyd, says, "I need to know if this school is going bankrupt because I need to stop putting my money into it."
Lon Morris officials are not giving students any answers.
One concerned parent says her son--who goes to the college--said some teachers were packing up and leaving because they didn't get paid. "One of my coaches, he didn't even come to practice today because he didn't get his check," says one student.
We're also told by students that the financial aid office is withholding refund checks.
Late Tuesday afternoon, we received a statement from the Lon Morris President, Dr. Miles McCall:
"Lon Morris College is a school with a proud tradition. Affiliated with and supported by the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Lon Morris College, like many educational institutions, often faces financial obstacles due to the current difficult economic challenges in our country. Lon Morris College is a private non-profit educational institution. Financial information is not public information and cannot be discussed until at which time all constituent groups have been briefed through the internal processes. The tremendous growth in recent years has put pressure on working capital. The institution has no plans to close at this time contrary to inaccurate media reporting nor have we quit paying our employees. We have delayed one pay period for several days while our accounts receivables accrued to a level needed to meet cash demands and we may be forced to delay some future pay periods in order to meet our student obligations. Our institution has faced numerous financial obstacles in its 156 year history but with support from finance partners, donors, alumni, and church constituents, we have always worked through our challenges. The Board of Trustees and Administration is currently working with our existing financial partners to restructure debt and relieve current operational shortages. The institution is considering all other cost saving options just like many school districts, state funded institutions, and other private schools. We may face employee furloughs, benefit cuts, or programs cuts, but at this time various options are still being considered and no decisions have been made. These challenges happen every day in local industry, educational institutions, and government agencies and often go unnoticed by the media and public. We are not immune to the current economic pressure." --Dr. Miles McCall, President