Benton Harbor Committee Looking for Public Comment on Plan, Meeting Monday

Apr 10, 2020


Benton Harbor High School.
Credit Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

The advisory committee tasked with creating a plan to turn Benton Harbor Area Schools around is accepting public comment on a draft plan until a meeting Monday night.

The plan is a response to community outcry against a state plan to close the high school last spring.

Michigan Deputy Treasurer Joyce Parker says they’re pushing ahead with the draft plan even while schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic so the district can begin implementing changes for next fall.

“Although school is not in session right now, I think we’re all optimistic that school will be in session in the fall and in order for the district to be prepared there was a need to provide that information to them.”

Benton Harbor Schools have been under several plans over the decades. Parker says this one will be different.

“Well I think if the resources are provided, you’ll see the results taking place.”

Parker says the state believes making the changes will make the district more attractive to students and families. She says if enrollment can go up, the district would be more stable.

The draft plan has 22 recommended actions including changes to curriculum, wages and hiring. Demolishing or selling unused buildings. And creating programs for student and faculty safety and restorative justice. 

The school board, the state and other community stake holders have 30 days to review and take action on the draft plan. If it is approved changes can begin over the summer in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.

Monday’s meeting is virtual, it begins at 5 p.m. You can join the meeting, read the plan and watch a presentation here.