All Articles Tagged "vocational school"
The Berean Institute has been evicted from its home in North Philadelphia, according to a letter sent to the school’s president, Dr. Lorraine Poole-Naranjo, dated September 6. The school was founded in 1899 as a vocational school teaching trades like carpentry and barbering to African-Americans.
Last week, the gas and electricity was turned off at the facility, which is leased in part by a job-training company called ABO Haven. That company had stopped paying rent ($9,000 per month) in April after it learned that Berean couldn’t enter into a commercial lease. ABO has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the school for damages caused by the lack of utilities.
According to the letter sent to Dr. Poole-Naranjo, Berean hasn’t had a lease for its space since 2010, hasn’t paid rent since 2006 and owes $310,778.08. The school also owes $40,000 to the Philadelphia Water Authority.
A spokeswoman for the school says Berean lost its state funding in 2008 and has been struggling financially. A former chairman of the school’s board, former Common Pleas Judge John Braxton, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the school had been slated to shut down in 2008.
Despite the problems, Dr. Poole-Naranjo promises Berean will continue. “This is just bricks and mortar,” she said, adding that the school will move to another building.
While it’s not an HBCU, The Berean Institute has strong historical ties to the black community. Only recently, Morris Brown College, an HBCU founded by the AME Church more than a century ago, filed for bankruptcy. It faces foreclosure.