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Benton Harbor High School

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The Benton Harbor School Board says it supports the concept of a new advisory committee with the state to turn around the district. But the board says it will take more time to create the committee.

The idea for the committee is the latest in a back and forth between the leaders of the district and the state over how to turn things around. In May, the Whitmer administration proposed closing Benton Harbor High School to help the district cope with its debt and low performance on standardized tests. The school board unanimously rejected the plan.

Children raising their hands in class.
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Today on Stateside, how is Benton Harbor High School faring after months of scrutiny from the Whitmer administration over the school’s low test scores and high debt? Plus, how will negotiations between UAW and the Big Three be impacted by the looming threat of a recession and an ongoing FBI probe into union leadership?

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Parents and students in Benton Harbor are getting ready for the upcoming school year.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration had proposed closing Benton Harbor high school next year. But the state backed down from that proposal last week.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

School board members in Benton Harbor say they’ll try again to reach an agreement with the governor’s office to turn the district around.

The administration of Governor Whitmer announced a tentative agreement with the school board earlier this month, but board members said there was no agreement.

At a meeting Saturday, board members said they’re working on a new proposal

Meanwhile, interim superintendent Patricia Robinson says some teachers and parents have already decided to leave the district because of the uncertainty.

Benton Harbor Area Schools Central Adminstration building
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Update: July 9, 2019 6:45 p.m.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist met today with officials from the Benton Harbor school board. The governor's Press Secretary, Tiffany Brown, and BHAS Board President Steve Mitchell issued the following joint statement after the meeting:

“Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Benton Harbor Area School Board leadership met to discuss next steps regarding the district. The lines of communication are open among all parties and we look forward to future discussions to identify a solution that puts Benton Harbor students first.”

Brown declined to elaborate on the statement, and school board vice president Joseph Taylor declined to comment.

Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor High School could stay open for the next year, if the school board votes on Tuesday night to approve an agreement with the state.

State officials had proposed closing the high school because the district is more than $18 million in debt and students are struggling academically. That created a community outcry to keep the school open.

outside of Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

State officials have reached a tentative agreement with the Benton Harbor school board that could keep the district's high school open.

The agreement comes after a two-hour meeting between Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration and Benton Harbor school board officials on Wednesday.

Benton Harbor Area Schools Central Adminstration building
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The fight for Benton Harbor High School is still alive.

The Benton Harbor school board rejected the state’s plan to close the high school.

Sign that says Flint vehicle city
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

 

Today on Stateside, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel comments on the recent dismissal of charges against state officials and others for actions related to the Flint water crisis. Plus, an interview with the writer of an "Afrofuturistic techno choreo-poem" set in 3071 Detroit. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Today is the deadline Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set for a deal to be reached between her administration and the Benton Harbor Area Schools board over the district’s future.

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Today on Stateside, Detroit police have identified a person of interest in the murders of three women in the city, cases that officials believe may be connected. Plus, how one research scientist at the Wayne State University School of Nursing approaches end-of-life conversations with teens and young adults.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

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.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Members of the school board for Benton Harbor Area Schools say they plan to submit a plan to Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to try to save the city’s high school.

The governor’s office says the district is $18.4 million in debt. She says closing the high school will save money and keep the entire district from dissolving. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools will get an extra week to come up with a plan to keep the district’s high school open. Whitmer took two hours of comments and questions during a town hall with residents in Benton Harbor on Wednesday.