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More resignations at Benton Harbor Area Schools

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Less than a week after nearly 40 teachers voiced their support for Benton Harbor High School Principal Donald Pearson, he has resigned and the district is dealing with additional turnover and troubling academic data.

ABC57’s Taylor Popielarz spent Monday evening at two special meetings in Benton Harbor.

At the second one, board members voted to accept the resignations of Pearson, Assistant High School Principal and Athletic Director Tray Crusciel, and MLK Paraprofessional Shaniqua Davis.

The board voted to name another assistant principal, John Eric Adams, as interim principal of the high school effective Tuesday.

It’s been less than a month since Superintendent Doctor Shelly Walker resigned, adding to a growing list of those exiting the struggling school system.

In the first special session on Monday, district and community leaders met for a quarterly update on the partnership agreement Benton Harbor Area Schools has with the state to stay open.

It was revealed that one-third of the district’s staff are not certified.

School officials also said turnover rates are at 10-percent for teachers and 63-percent for substitutes.

And academically, students are still struggling.

Only 6-percent at Dream Academy and Hull are proficient in math, while only 1-percent of students at STEAM meet the mark.

And for reading, the numbers are similarly low: 11-percent proficiency for Dream students and just 5-percent for kids at STEAM.

Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson and members of the school board declined to speak on camera about the resignations Monday. But in the first meeting on Monday, one school official said last week alone, four or five classrooms did not have a teacher or sub because one was not available.

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