Benton Harbor Area Schools

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

The Benton Harbor School board is sending a draft plan to the state that includes efforts to boost student outcomes and pay down the districts debt without closing any schools.

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.

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. 

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

 

The Benton Harbor mayor lead a delegation to Lansing Tuesday to meet with lawmakers and the Governor about a Department of Treasury lead plan that would close the district's high school in the spring of 2020.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer listened for more than two hours Wednesday night as Benton Harbor community members implored her not to close their high school.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

Benton Harbor community members and supporters gathered at the high school Tuesday night to protest a plan to close the high school.

 

In addition to Benton Harbor community members, people from school districts across Michigan that have been closed by the state came to lend their support.

Marilyn Ross-Golden has been teaching at Benton Harbor High School for 31 years. She helped more than a dozen students step up to the microphone at the meeting and say what they’re feeling.