Monday, November 24, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Fisher More College Might Not Have Campus for Fall Classes

Fisher More College in Fort Worth, Tex., has indicated in recent statements that its campus and residential program might not open for the fall 2014 semester.

A letter from Fisher More President Michael King to teachers and parents last month stated that “it appears unlikely that the College will continue residential operations as presently configured at the Fort Worth campus.” And just last week, the College released a statement on its website that an “announcement regarding fall courses and enrollment will be made as soon as it is possible.”

The College must leave its current campus—the former Our Lady of Victory convent—by May 31, according to the Star Telegram, after “reaching an impasse with the property owners… over rent payments.”

The Telegram reports:

A lawsuit filed in Tarrant County civil court by the Victory Arts Management Group said Fisher More had a lease-to-own arrangement with Victory and owed $117,115 in costs because of its defaults. Victory was also seeking “liquidated damages” of $300,000.

In an effort to stay, the school and its landlords appeared to have reached a tentative agreement to settle the previous lawsuit, with Fisher More paying $13,628 in rent and the landlords allowing the college to remain until the end of the semester.

But the school was apparently unable to live up to its end of the deal, according to court documents.

The landlords, according to the report, “filed several legal actions” and the parties met in court for negotiations. While the property owners reportedly agreed to drop garnishment claims against the College, an agreement was reached giving the owners access to the property in the pursuit of new tenants.

Last week’s statement from the College indicates that decisions about its future will be made after mid-July, when the College hopes the Vatican will respond to its appeal of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson’s decision to revoke permission for the College to “have the public celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass” in the College chapel.

But more significant for the College’s future are its ongoing financial woes and enrollment decline.  The Telegram reports that the number of students at Fisher More dropped from 42 to 25 between the fall and spring semesters of the 2013-14 academic year, due to uncertainties about the institution’s ability to continue operations.

A significant shakeup occurred in June 2013, when Dr. Taylor Marshall resigned as chancellor.  He posted an open letter on Facebook alleging “moral, theological, and financial discrepancies” and noting that five out of the eight College board members at the time also resigned.

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