Joint advisory committee between BHAS, state meets today

BENTON HARBOR — The first meeting of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee between state officials and community members in the Benton Harbor school district will be at 5:30 p.m. today at the Benton Harbor High School Library.

The public is invited.

To join the video call, go to https://meet.google.com/oxd-ozqd-oeb and follow instructions. For audio only, call 669-220-6182 PIN: 453578753#. 

People with disabilities can call Stephan Welke at 517-335-3521 to request assistance.

The meeting agenda includes the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the state and the school district, the election of officers and approving a meeting schedule.

The future of the school district has been under a shadow since May, when state officials told Benton Harbor school board trustees to agree to close Benton Harbor High School at the end of the 2019-20 school year or the entire district could be shut down. The reasons given were the district’s high debt and chronically low  low scores on state standardized tests.

Trustees have opposed all plans in which the high school could close, and started working with the state in August to establish a joint advisory committee.

School board President Joseph Taylor previously said the committee is expected to create the district’s business and operational plan for the 2020-21 school year by the end of March. The plan would need to approved by the school board and the state before being implemented.

He said there are 11 members on the committee, with a 12th nonvoting member helping the school district.

Board Treasurer Denise Whatley-Seats will represent the school board on the committee.

Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege