ATLANTA- Despite the college being millions of dollars in debt with very few students, Morris Brown alumni continue to contribute thousands of dollars in donations to the school. An interim budget was filed in federal court as a part of a potential deal to help the school emerge from bankruptcy.
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The budget shows $29,000 in alumni contributions from August 2013. Tuition also continues coming in from an estimated 50 students -- $26,188.43 worth in August.
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However, the college's legal bills trump both of those numbers. According to the budget filing, in August bankruptcy legal costs exceeded $318,000. That adds to the reported approx. $8 million debt they've already incurred.
The Morris Brown College campus is mostly empty with about 50 students still taking classes from a dozen teachers. It has tried to emerge from a year-long bankruptcy process with several different deals, the latest of which is with a local company called Pope and Land Enterprises. They have to have a plan filed with the court by October 6.
Friendship Baptist Church said the Morris Brown tower dorm buildings would be a site they would consider purchasing for their new church location. And Friendship Baptist, recently, accepted a $19.5 million deal to move from their current location so that a new stadium can be built.
College supporters are hoping the current deal being worked on would allow the college to sell some property, but keep the core of the campus intact. Then they say the school would take any surplus money from the sale to operate during the years it takes to regain accreditation.
Chuck Barlow was a sharecropper from Jackson, Ga. when he was given the chance to go to Morris Brown College in the late 60s. He ended up graduating and sending his four children there. He plans to keep contributing as much money to the college as he can. He hopes one day his grandchildren will attend the school.
"Yes, we realize the campus is deteriorating," Barlow said. "But if General Motors can emerge from Bankruptcy and become a viable company, Morris Brown can emerge from bankruptcy and be a viable educational institution."