Commissioners vote to give money to Le-Moyne Owen

The topic of monetary aid for financially struggling LeMoyne-Owen College was the topic of a heated discussion at a Shelby County Commission meeting Monday.

"I don't know why have to always come to the mike when you have an African American organization asking for their share; their investment of taxpayer dollars," said Commissioner Henri Brooks. "We've always got to plead and beg."

LeMoyne-Owen, a school with a history of financial troubles, has already received $4 million in donations or pledges for donations.

Last month, a county commission committee recommended a one-time donation of $500,000 for the school. The recommendation came after the Memphis City Council committed $3 million over three years to the school.  At the time, council members urged the county commission to make a similar commitment.
"Public dollars going to a private institution, to me, is wrong," said Commissioner Wyatt Bunker. "I don't care if they've got a plan in place to correct the problem, it's their responsibility to stay afloat, not the taxpayers'."

In the end the board approved the $500,000 by a vote of 9 to 2.  A decision regarding when the school would receive the funds was not immediately made.