Oldest 2-year college in TX struggles to keep doors open

Published: Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 4, 2012 at 9:40 PM CDT
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Jena Johnson snapped this photo of Lon Morris staff members moving away from the campus.
Jena Johnson snapped this photo of Lon Morris staff members moving away from the campus.

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas college campus needs help keeping their doors open. Lon Morris College in Jacksonville announced Wednesday afternoon they are looking for an educational institution to partner with.

The administration says over the past years, they've experience negative cash flow, and now this is their last hope. 
"It's pretty sad," said Juan Gonzales, Lon Morris employee. "It's hard to see the people leaving from the main office."

It was eerily quiet on the Lon Morris Campus as faculty and staff emptied their offices. Only a few employees were working Wednesday. Juan Gonzales was called in to fix the college's athletic bus.  

Gonzales says Wednesday could be the last day he ever works on the campus.      

"To me, that's what it looks like," he said. "After today I don't know what's going to happen." 

A three-year employee at Lon Morris, Gonzales says if he loses this part-time job it's going to be tough to support his family.

"It would affect a lot because they're one of my good customers that I have, you know, and I try to help anytime they have some problems," he said. 

For years the college has been losing money. Time and time again, they missed payroll causing hardships and uncertainty to their employees.

The administration says they began pumping money into their athletic program hoping it would pay off, but it didn't. 

The administration says there's been a cash flow problem for several years. Now, the college is looking to partner with an educational institution. 
One of the school's financial supporters are members of the Conference of the Methodist Church, or CME. Church member Suywanna Baker is a donor to the college. 

"I would like to know what happened to the money? I mean why are they in such bad shape as the college is in now? Where did the money go?" asked Baker. 

Although she questions the management of funds, she's more focused on what will happen to the students and employees. 

"It's sad for me because it's a part of my church," she said.  

Now,  the oldest two-year college in Texas is left in limbo looking for help to keep on the lights. 

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