All but a core minimum group of Lon Morris College employees received furlough notices Wednesday morning, and Miles McCall, president of the Jacksonville college, handed in his letter of resignation Tuesday, officials said Wednesday.
While the furlough notice said the employees were “terminated,” it was unclear whether they were formally discharged or furloughed.
“Furlough and terminated are two different things,” board member Tim McRae said. “Although I have not received the letter, I’m pretty sure it is furlough.”
The decision was made by Bridge Point Consulting Company, an advising firm brought in on May 5 by the board of trustees to help restructure the school’s finances, with intentions of reopening in the fall.
“We are assuming there will indeed be a fall semester which we will gear up for once the 30-day assessment has been completed and alternatives have been analyzed,” the letter stated.
Dawn Ragan, the chief restructuring officer, sent an email on behalf of the college stating the last three payrolls have been missed and the school was unable to continue the employment of personnel.
“Your loyalty to the college, and especially to the mission, is very much appreciated, but unfortunately due to the current circumstance, all employment by the college is hereby terminated,” the notice stated.
Dr. Jack Nelson, board vice president, said the decision was not made by the board, but by the consulting group.
Multiple phone calls and messages were left for Ragan, but none were returned by press time Wednesday.
Also stated in the notice, campus housing or room and board benefits have also been terminated. The employees and tenants have been given 10 days to vacate. Employees have been asked to return all college property including laptops, keys, credit cards and vehicles by the end of the week.
McCall made a decision to resign after a meeting with Ragan, McRae said.
“Miles McCall wanted to fit into the reorganization effort but he knew a lot of the discussions and decisions were made outside of him and he was not involved,” McRae said. “He asked (Ragan) if he had a part in this and where does he play. (Ragan) asked (him), ‘Do you want me to be blunt? You express that your main concern of the college is the reorganization effort, I think it is in the best interest of the college if you step down to help progress the reorganization effort.”
McRae said McCall was told, “the sooner you resign the better.”
“His concern the whole time was with the college,” McRae said. “He wanted to do whatever it took to keep the college viable. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the reorganization process but he respects it.”
McCall’s phone number was not listed and he could not be reached for comment.
McRae said what happens next with the college is up to the reorganization firm.
“The firm is going to do what’s best,” he said, “They will work with banks and creditors, with all means, to raise some funds and that will be funds to underwrite their restructuring efforts. They need some time to put a business plan together to keep moving forward. Once that’s in place and they begin implementing that plan, hopefully we’ll open in the fall.”
McRae said as of right now, there will be no summer classroom instruction courses, but online courses are a possibility.
Multiple phone calls were made to Martha Squibb, board president, on Wednesday, but none were returned by press time.
Lon Morris College had been experiencing ongoing cash flow problems after the school increased its enrollment to an all-time high of 1,080 after bringing in new academic programs such as hospitality management and agriculture science.
In 2010, LMC added football its list of sports offered and at its peak, there were 180 students in the program.
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‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace
It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
Short named Farmer of the Year
Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.
New clinic open
A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.
Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations
Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Heat Advisory issued for North Texas
• Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
Corsicana’s Red Cross provides valuable assistance
Two weeks ago, when firefighters, oil field emergency crews and county crisis teams responded to a potential gas drilling disaster near Mildred there were also volunteers on the scene, serving cold water and Gatorade.
American Red Cross volunteers respond to a variety of situations, including fires, evacuations, tornadoes, and even bad car wrecks.
Texas Legislature debates road funding
The Texas Legislature has convened to debate new funding for roads and bridges by diverting money from the state's Rainy Day Fund.
Tax rolls reflect closures
The industrial closures that were announced over a year ago have finally come home to roost in the form of lower tax appraisals in Corsicana and Navarro County.
Sheriff attends conference
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner recently attended the Sheriff’s Association of Texas 135th Annual Training Conference at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, July 20-23. Over 1,500 peace officers were in attendance.
Downed line blocks traffic
Traffic on East State Highway 31 was halted Thursday when an 18-wheeler hit a sagging telephone line, brining down the line and compromising two utility poles.
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- ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace