Private N.C. college faces summer with debt notices
GREENSBORO (AP) ó A small, private college in North Carolina is asking creditors to be patient as it tries to raise money to pay nearly $1 million in past-due bills.
Greensboro College, with 1,300 students, already has cut salaries 20 percent and a week ago was told to pay an $8,000 electric bill or lose power, The News & Record of Greensboro reported Sunday.
Next, a sheriff’s deputy brought a summons to small claims court to the college telling officials to appear because of an overdue office supply bill of $1,245.
The 161-year-old liberal arts college also owed $136,889 for cafeteria service, $13,388 for trash collection, $50,276 to a bus company that transported athletes and a past-due city water bill of $6,500, the newspaper said.
A country club membership also is 90 days in arrears, the newspaper said.
The school’s restructuring officer, Edward Sanz, said the college raised enough money for its June payroll and now needs enough to operate through the summer until students return in the fall. He said the power bill episode was a misunderstanding.
Sanz’s firm, Naviscent Group of Charlotte, was hired by the college board of trustees two months ago to reorganize its debt. Sanz says the college is renegotiating its bank line of credit.
Sanz says large gifts from individuals and foundations have dried up because of the recession.
“It’s a tough patch, period, but we’re going to get through it,” said Sanz. “All the colleges are getting slammed right now.”
College President Craven Williams said anonymous faculty criticism of him in a Chronicle of Higher Education article and a letter circulated around campus was upsetting. Williams took a 20 percent cut to his $403,000 salary
Williams has been president since 1993 and is the school’s chief fundraiser and ambassador. Sanz said the president’s salary, a school-owned home with maid service and a BMW are necessary perks for entertaining would-be donors. A Greensboro Country Club membership is 90 days in arrears, the newspaper said.
Greensboro College is borrowing against its endowment, which fell from $19 million value to $12 million.
“The college lives on contributions and endowments, but retiring a debt is a bit of a challenge,” Sanz said. “It’s not like raising money for a building that you can put someone’s name on. You can’t name a debt after someone.”
Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com