Lon Morris College was back in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Tuesday where attorneys updated the judge on an offer to buy the school’s athletic equipment and volunteer efforts by former employees.
The financially strapped college filed its bankruptcy petition in early July.
Timothy Webb, an attorney for the college, told Judge William Parker of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Texas, that former employees want to volunteer for the school and the college would benefit from those efforts.
Parker agreed that those efforts constitute charitable volunteer work and approved it.
More than 100 employees were furloughed earlier this year as part of the college’s reorganization efforts. Those employees now are considered terminated, a spokesman said Tuesday.
There are five former employees calling students who attended during the 2011-12 academic year and had pre-registered for this fall, trying to energize them to come back, Lon Morris spokesman Dave Hubbard said after the hearing. They also are working with freshman applicants and other prospects.
Dawn Ragan, chief restructuring officer for Lon Morris, said after the hearing that, “They’ve been talking to people (about the school). … The employees really wanted to do that.”
Ms. Ragan said there are former employees want to be rehired, and the actual number of teachers rehired will depend on the final student body and the mix of classes to be offered.
A group of volunteers called “Loving Lon Morris,” along with other community and church members, also have helped out with things like mowing grass on campus, cleaning and painting.
Athletic programs were eliminated this year as part of the school’s reorganization.
As far as athletic equipment being sold to Blinn College, it is mostly football items, Ms. Ragan said.
Representatives from McKool Smith, and Webb & Associates, are representing the college. The next hearing is in August.
Lon Morris filed a voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy petition July 3. The school has bled millions of dollars since at least the 2007-08 school year.
It now is seeking an alliance with another educational institution as part of efforts to reorganize, remain viable and emerge from financial difficulties.
In regard to the college seeking a financial partnership with another institution, the judge can’t authorize the partnership until he sees the deal, which was expected to take 60 days to prepare as of July 5.
Tuesday’s bankruptcy hearing comes nearly two weeks after Lon Morris College announced it will begin fall classes in August and a “revitalized academic program that positions the school on a path towards its future,” according to a statement released July 12.
The school will offer a complete core curriculum this fall semester with on-campus and online classes. That includes biology, math and English.
As far as offering other courses outside the core curriculum, Ms. Ragan said it will depend on how many students enroll.
Fall classes begin Aug. 29, and the official cutoff for registration is Sept. 11.
Ms. Ragan said the college will now start doing advertising and signage in the community.
With the most recent efforts, the college is not limiting enrollment to a certain number. However, it must have enough students to have a positive cash flow, Hubbard has said.
To help accomplish that, a team of Lon Morris educators is working with admissions and financial aid staff to assist students and help with recruiting efforts, according to a prepared statement from the school.
Hubbard said six students registered on Monday, and registration has consisted of residential and commuter students. Officials did not have exact information on the total number of students who have registered for the fall.
Lon Morris also has reduced tuition 33 percent and still will offer financial aid and funded scholarships. Tuition for 12 to 18 hours will be $9,000 per year. That does not include student fees, room, developmental class fees, lab fees and books.
The college is not offering cafeteria service but will have on-campus housing available. Besides classes, Lon Morris will have student activities, including student government.
“We want it to be a full well-rounded college experience. We want student activities,” Hubbard said earlier this month, adding that Lon Morris will have its mentoring and religious life programs.
“We’re excited about the fall. ... We’re going to have a strong fall. We’re looking at student programs and student activities to have a well-rounded (experience for students). ... We will have a much smaller population but will have the opportunity to make a difference.”
Ms. Ragan added, “We’re geared up and ready to go.”
For more information on registering, contact John Ross at email@example.com or call 903-589-4014.