The Alabama Legislature will likely not be a part of any government bailout for financially beleaguered Birmingham-Southern College, according to State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur).
Birmingham-Southern president Daniel Coleman is asking for $30 million, a portion of which he told Birmingham TV's WBRC that he hoped would come from the state's Education Trust Fund.
Orr, who chairs the Education Trust Fund committee in the Alabama Senate, was dismissive of the possibility during an appearance on Huntsville radio's WVNN. He also said a state takeover would not be unprecedented but indicated that was not likely either.
"I think that ship has sailed," he said. "And even if it were in north Alabama, I just think it would be an extremely heavy lift. You recall Athens State University was at one time private. The state took it over and started operating it years ago, decades ago. But still, I don't think there's an appetite to do any more of that in the days ahead."
"That's part of the ask," Orr added. "That's part of the lion's share of the $30 million is a bridge loan that they're looking for. They claim that they will be able to repay it, I think, 2026 or somewhere in there. But at the end of the day, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of confidence that that would be repaid."
The Morgan County lawmaker added that comments from the Jefferson County delegation showed a lack of support, which is where it should be most vocal.
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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