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Education

Benton Harbor officials bring fight to save high school to Lansing

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Chanting “Save our school,” Benton Harbor parents, students and elected leaders brought their campaign to keep the city’s high school open to the governor’s office Tuesday.

The state is proposing shutting down Benton Harbor’s high school as part of plan to eliminate the district’s multi-million dollar debt.

Standing outside the governor’s office building, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad blasted the plan and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI).

“In 170 days of the Whitmer administration, we’ve been told that 144 years is going to be thrown down the drain,” said Muhammad, referring to Benton Harbor’s history of public education.

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Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio
“We put a thoughtful solution on the table. If someone has a viable alternative that Treasury and MDE feels addresses the outcomes for kids as well as the debt then I certainly interested to considered it ,” says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI).

Earlier, Gov. Whitmer defended the plan to shrink Benton Harbor from a K-12 school district to a K-8 school district.

“We put a thoughtful solution on the table.  If someone has a viable alternative that Treasury and MDE feels addresses the outciomes for kids as well as the debt then I certainly interested to considered it ,” says Whitmer.

State officials are scheduled to meet with Benton Harbor School District representatives Wednesday.   

The school board approved a new plan Monday that will allow the high school to remain open.

If the high school closes, Mayor Muhammad is threatening to slam the brakes on commercial development plans in his city.  

“So if Benton Harbor high school is going to be scrapped, put to the scythe, then all development…will be put on the table,” Muhammad warns.

The mayor also threatened to pull the plug on a Senior PGA golf tournament played at an exclusive golf club in Benton Harbor.

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