Michigan Governor Sends Letter To Benton Harbor School Leaders

Jun 18, 2019

Letter from Gov. Whitmer to the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education

Today Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to Benton Harbor school leaders acknowledging that she understands the Board has voted not to accept the state's proposal to close Benton Harbor High School.

Whitmer goes on to say that she believes the state proposal has merit and that "doing nothing is not an option." 

She says that "given substantial efforts by the Board to begin crafting a plan" she is looking forward to working toward a solution.

The letter goes on to say that the documents that the Benton Harbor school leaders submitted last week are being reviewed and that the state will be "in touch by the end of this week" to schedule a meeting. 

Here is the Motion of the Board of Education of the Benton Harbor Area Schools:

The Board would prefer not to respond to the Proposed Plan at this time becausethe Board believes that a response may likely divide our community and create anadversarial relationship with the Governor’s Office and the other State officials, andthe Board would much rather prefer to have a positive and collaborative workingrelationship with all involved in order to create options and solutions. But we’vebeen advised that the Governor’s Office still wanted the Board’s formal responseto the Proposed Plan by today, June 14, 2019.While the Board believes it does not have the legal authority during the term of theCooperative Agreement to enter into any agreements on behalf of the District, webelieve the Board may advise the Governor’s Office that it will not agree to theProposed Plan that includes closing the high schools within the District and busingour students to other school districts within the county.The Board believes that it is in the best interest of all involved to continue to worktogether with State officials. To that end, we will submit a more robust and viableeducational plan for State officials to consider that includes providing our highschool students with the option of attending a majority-minority high school herein Benton Harbor.Therefore, I make a motion that the Board not accept the May 24 Proposed Plan.I hope that this decision will not preclude the State officials from continuing to workcollaboratively with Board representatives as we seek to find a common solutionto the financial and educational issues facing our District.