Ecclesia College: Your tax dollars at 'work' | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ecclesia College: Your tax dollars at 'work'

Posted By on Sat, Aug 11, 2018 at 7:14 AM

click to enlarge TIME FOR ACCOUNTING: Ecclesia fields a baseball team, but not many graduates, despite hefty state aid.
  • TIME FOR ACCOUNTING: Ecclesia fields a baseball team, but not many graduates, despite hefty state aid.
Matt Campbell's Blue Hog Report this week reviews the history and spotty academic record of Ecclesia College, the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars thanks to the work of many legislators, at least a couple of whom (Jon Woods and Micah Neal) are heading to federal prison for kickbacks from the felonious former college president.

Blue Hog notes the low scores of students, the abysmal graduation rate of only a handful of students (five in 2016), its expansion in landholdings (helped by Rep. Bob Ballinger), its exemption from property taxes on property that would seem to be non-exempt. He asks the pertinent question and opines:

Yet, this is the college that Jon Woods got other legislators to send GIF money to? And not one of those legislators looked at this data and asked why in the world they were being asked to give state funds to such an underwhelming institution? Did any of the legislators who sent GIF funds know anything about Ecclesia other than it was a religious institution that “graduated conservative voters”?

It would be bad enough if Woods and Neal had been running their kickback scheme with a college that actually produced graduates who were trained to perform in the real world. (One suspects, however, that no real college with an ounce of self-respect would engage in such criminality.) But it is markedly worse when the scheme runs through a college that barely graduates anyone. Between leaving students in debt and without a degree and not paying property taxes, it is hard to see where Ecclesia has done much good for anyone not directly profiting from the school’s lack of moral compass.
Many current legislators have not been charged with crimes but still hold office and seek re-election this year. Not a one of them has made a move to get the college's ill-gotten money back. It's time for accounting. A good place to start would be with Rep. Charlie Collins, a proud Ecclesia supporter. Ballinger, Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, Rep. Jana Della Rosa and Rep. Jim Dotson also come to mind, among others.

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