State Reacts to BHAS Board Rejection Of Plan For The Future Of Benton Harbor Schools

Jul 3, 2019

Benton Harbor High School
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

NEW: The state of Michigan issued the following statement in reaction to the BHAS vote last night rejecting the plan the state put forth as a tentative joint plan:

“The Benton Harbor School Board's action to vote down the resolution to put students first is a setback for Benton Harbor students, parents, and the community. By voting not to accept this proposal – which was developed with direct input from BHAS board members and attorneys – board members are sending a troubling signal to parents that they are unwilling to negotiate in good faith to address the district’s academic and financial challenges.  The governor remains committed to finding a solution that puts Benton Harbor students first.”

ORIGINAL POST:

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The Benton Harbor school board has rejected a tentative agreement that would have staved off the closing of the city's high school.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the five-member board unanimously rejected a resolution calling for it to work with the state of Michigan on the proposed deal.

Board president Stephen Mitchell said school officials want to work with the state, but need to have "trust and collaboration" before a deal is made.

Board members said they were angry with state officials for saying a proposed deal with them had been reached. Board members say there is no tentative agreement.

State officials said the deal called for the school district to improve the academic performance of its 1,800 students and simultaneously reduce its $18 million debt.

Board member Patricia Rush said Benton Harbor would never agree to a deal that includes the high school's closing.
 

“The Benton Harbor School Board's action to vote down the resolution to put students first is a setback for Benton Harbor students, parents, and the community. By voting not to accept this proposal – which was developed with direct input from BHAS board members and attorneys – board members are sending a troubling signal to parents that they are unwilling to negotiate in good faith to address the district’s academic and financial challenges.  The governor remains committed to finding a solution that puts Benton Harbor students first.”