State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) is continuing his campaign for the Alabama Legislature to rescue the financially beleaguered Birmingham-Southern College.
Initially, Birmingham-Southern College asked for $30 million from the state to keep the private four-year college afloat.
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," the powerful Senate Rules Committee chairman argued against the naysayers who suggest such a loan to a private institution would be unprecedented.
According to Waggoner, the state's current education budget includes funding for various private entities.
"There's a guy named Dr. [M. Keivan] Deravi, who is probably the foremost person in Alabama that can tell you the economic impact of any business or any school," he said. "And he's done a study at Birmingham-Southern College on the economic impact of that campus being in Birmingham. It's a $97 million annual economic impact, and that's huge. The word down here — we don't want to spend state money on a private institution. Well, if you look at the education budget, there's several examples in the education budget of private institutions and private businesses receiving state taxpayer dollars. So, this is not anything new as far as giving state money to a private company or private four-year institution. And that's what Birmingham-Southern is asking for."
"There was a president, three or four presidents ago, at Birmingham-Southern College that spent them into this problem," Waggoner continued. "And they're having trouble bailing out. It's a campus with a little over 1,000 students. It's in the west side of Birmingham. It's a 200-acre campus, very valuable property close to I-59, 59/20 going through Birmingham. They're looking at a loan situation to keep the college alive. I went to Auburn for two years. Then I transferred to Birmingham-Southern, where I got a basketball scholarship. So, my degree is from Birmingham-Southern. I'm still very close to the campus, and I want them to survive this, and I'm doing what I can. Of course, there's a lot of opposition, but I'm doing what I can to keep Birmingham-Southern alive."
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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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