Lon Morris restructuring could affect city financially

JACKSONVILLE (KYTX) - Jacksonville city leaders are worried about the financial impact on the city if Lon Morris College can't reorganize.

On Wednesday, the private Methodist college shut down for the summer and furloughed more than 100 employees after missing three pay periods in a row.

Rev. Rob Fisher, senior pastor at Pollard United Methodist Church in Tyler, plans to ask his congregation for a special offering for the furloughed employees this Sunday. 

"We will be doing it by announcements in our worship services. We will also put it in our weekly newsletter," said Rev. Rob Fisher.

United Methodist churches across Texas are trying to raise $250,000 to cover one pay roll for Lon Morris.  With the recent furloughs, they're making an effort to raise that money as soon as possible.

"It's just a small way to say we appreciate their love and commitment to the students at Lon Morris College," added Fisher.

While the United Methodist churches collect money for Lon Morris, the city of Jacksonville is wondering how they're going to be impacted financially while Lon Morris undergoes the restructuring process.

"We will lose sales tax dollars generated from the instructors at the college as well as students coming into town and we'll loose a good water customer if Lon Morris can't reopen," said Freddy Thomas, Jacksonville Finance Director.

Jacksonville Finance Director Freddy Thomas estimates the payroll at Lon Morris College to be about $250,000 every two weeks. That adds up to $500,000 a month.

When you consider three missed payrolls that's a big chunk of change not going into the city economy.

But the college can't do it by itself, it's going to take some help from people in the community with a lot of faith.

"I believe it's a very important college and I hope we're able to keep it," added Fisher.



Lon Morris hopes to be able to rehire employees for the fall semester. All campus departments are functioning with 11 employees still working.

A consulting firm is currently helping Lon Morris with the restructuring process.

Dr. Miles McCall, the school's president, resigned Thursday. He's stepping out of the way to allow the school to reorganize


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