BENTON HARBOR — Governor Gretchen Whitmer invited Benton Harbor school board trustees to meet with her Wednesday to discuss the future of Benton Harbor High School.
In a letter she sent to school board trustees Friday, Whitmer said she is committed to making sure every child receives a quality education.
“As I’ve said before, doing nothing is not an option,” she wrote. “We look forward to continue working through the process to identify a solution that puts kids first.”
The high school’s fate has been hanging in the balance since the Michigan Department of Treasury issued a news release May 24, proposing that the high school and alternative high school be closed temporarily until the school district’s high debt is paid off and student achievement increases.
State officials have said this is a better option than what has happened in the past, where districts have been completely dissolved or chartered. Verbally, state officials have said that up to $11 million of the district’s $18.4 million debt could be wiped away if trustees agree with the state’s plan.
But area residents have loudly protested the closing of the high school at multiple town hall meetings, saying that their children would encounter bullying and and racism at the surrounding high schools, which are mostly white.
School board trustees rejected the state’s proposal June 14 and sent the governor one of their own.
Board President Stephen Mitchell and Board Vice President Joseph Taylor could not be reached for comment.
Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege