Arkansas Baptist College Blames Former President For Financial Difficulties

Aug 6, 2018

Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock is facing financial difficulties after the departure of its president.
Credit Arkansas Business

Arkansas Baptist College is again struggling to organize its finances. Members of the school’s board blame former President Joseph Jones with squandering a budget surplus by not focusing on enrollment and replacing staffers with new employees who were paid higher salaries.

Jones is accused of hiding the deteriorating financial situation from the board until the college was in a crisis. Now officials are working to address an estimated $4 million hole.

Arkansas Business digs into the situation in this week’s issue:

Little Rock’s Arkansas Baptist College should be nearing completion of its second academic year of financial stability heading toward the start of the 2018 fall semester. That was the plan.

Instead, the historically black college is battling through a fiscal crisis that threatened to close its doors once again. Leadership at the private liberal arts school also now is contending with a lawsuit filed by the man they say is most responsible for Arkansas Baptist’s severe reversal of fortune: Joseph Jones.

During his 15 months as college president, enrollment plummeted from 832 to 529 and payroll ballooned to unsustainable levels. The double whammy of tumbling revenue and escalating expenses quickly sent the financially challenged college into an operational tailspin.

KUAR spoke with reporter Lance Turner about the story, which can be read here