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Education

Financial, academic woes and a change in state law puts Benton Harbor high school at risk

The clock is ticking for Benton Harbor High School. The state says the district is $18.4 million in debt and could run out of money by next spring.

On Wednesday night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer told local leaders in the Southwest Michigan city that they have until June 14 to submit a plan to keep their high school open.  If Benton Harbor Area Schools can’t reach an agreement with the state, the entire district could be dissolved.

Craig Thiel is research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He breaks down how Benton Harbor High School ended up in this position, and the state's track record on intervening in financially distressed and low-performing schools.