Benton Harbor Area Schools holds town hall meeting to address the future of the district

NOW: Benton Harbor Area Schools holds town hall meeting to address the future of the district


BENTON HARBOR, Mich – Benton Harbor Area Schools held a town hall meeting Wednesday evening to address the future of the school district.

The meeting saw alumni; former teachers and parents voice their ideas and concerns about what went wrong and how to fix the current problems.

“We wanted to host a town hall for the community because the board is being asked to make some decisions in the next few weeks, next month that would have an impact on the total taxpayer population so we wanted to make sure they had some input on what we’re about to do,” Benton Harbor Area Schools School Board President Stephen Mitchell said.

The district is $18-million dollars in debt with falling enrollment which contributes to the debt and in recent months a law was passed that will see the power returned to the district from the state of Michigan which most at Wednesday’s meeting are in favor of if done in the right manner.

“I do think that things need to be in place that ensure before local control is returned that we make sure that our school board is trained adequately, properly by Michigan associates on the school board to be basically qualified school board members to show that they are efficient enough and proficient enough in order to be able to make decisions,” Town hall attendee said.   

Some local residents said they don’t believe the problems will be solved at the top.

“We need to spend money on quality teachers we are too heavy at the top everytime that there is a cut it’s a cut with the teachers it’s a cut with staff its cuts with support but yet we are hiring more administrators at over $100 thousand dollars a year this problem is not going to be fixed at the top it’s going to be fixed at the bottom,” Pastor MacAfee of Benton Harbor said.

State Board of Education member Tiffany Tilley says a part of improving the district depends on the local school board rebuilding trust within the community.

“They need to do activities to build trust and do things in the community to build trust within the community members I think that’s a big piece and hopefully parents that have taken their children out of the district will begin to bring them back,” Tilley said.  

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