Lon Morris College files for bankruptcy

Lon Morris College, the embattled UM-affiliated two-year college in Jacksonville, Texas, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, July 2.

“The college is continuing it work on its financial restructuring efforts, however, the timing of the filing was necessitated by a foreclosure proceeding on certain dormitories scheduled to proceed Tuesday, July 3,” the school said in a statement.

By filing for bankruptcy, the statement continued, Lon Morris College can put off legal or collection actions as it tries to find a viable future.

The voluntary chapter 11 petition, filed in federal court in Tyler, Texas, and posted on the Tyler Morning Telegraph website, estimated the school’s liabilities as between $10 million and $50 million, and estimated its number of creditors as between 200 and 999.

Major creditors include Pioneer College Caterers, owed more than $575,000, and the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, which made a $250,000 loan to the school.

Lon Morris is exploring partnership or a “transaction” with another higher education institution, the statement said.

“Lon Morris continues to receive strong support from many of its creditors, as well as its faculty and employees, and the general community,” said Dawn Ragan of Bridgepoint Consulting, who is serving as chief restructuring officer for the school, in the statement. “We are operating with core staff, and continue to work on a modified academic program that will continue compliance with the SAC accreditation policies for the upcoming year.”

Lon Morris College is the oldest private two-year school in Texas and has been the gateway to higher education for many UM pastors. But the school was unable to meet three consecutive payrolls this spring, leading to the furloughing of most employees and cancellation of summer classes.

Officials succeeded in boosting enrollment in recent years, in part through adding academic programs and re-starting a football program, but income has consistently failed to meet expenses.

“The college has experienced negative cash flow in recent years by overextending itself in an attempt to increase enrollment, taking on significant debt,” the statement said.

 

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  1. kateyoung1957 says:

    I am saddened to find out that a school of higher learning and one supposedly based on Christian principles would allow itself to be the source of hardship for so many of it's employees, not to mention embroiling itself in risky and extremely poor financial practices. Perhaps the members of leadership should remember what the Bible instructs us, "Lean not upon your own understanding…" and "if you have faith, that of a mustard seed…". I don't know about your God but, mine can do anything I only have to give it to Him and allow Him to work His will.

    Don't forget the parable about the 3 servants that were given the "talents' by their Master and how he responded to each in kind. This situation is still salvageable if those in charge will only allow God to take the lead and bow their will to His.

    Good luck, my prayers are with all those who have been the victims of others poor decisions.

    • All the people who worked at Lon Morris, everyone, tried their best to save this wonderful school. I do not work at Lon Morris, but I attended school there. It was very sad that money became the issue, but I am also a teacher. During the troubled times that Lon Morris had, some of the teachers went into the community and said terrible things about our school and the people who worked there. How do you think that influenced the outcome? Even in our pain, Jesus would not want us to look for blame, but instead to carry on in a such as way that shows the true influence of Christianity. Many people suffered. Many are suffering all over the world. This College should be saved and those of us who can work for free, should offer our services. Many positive things have happened at this institution and many more positive things could happen. The courts have also played a part in this tragedy. Other institutes close by even wallow with pride that it has possibly failed. But the good that this college did for students will never be forgotten. It gave us strenth and confidence to pursue higher goals. The teachers were part of that. Please take some pride.

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