Benton Harbor Area Schools improving their financial stability

NOW: Benton Harbor Area Schools improving their financial stability

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- According to an independent audit, Benton Harbor Area Schools have been able to turn their -$16.4 million fund balance, which stood in June of 2011, into a positive balance of $3.2 million as of this past June.

The State of Michigan was proposing to close down the district’s high school three years ago due to these financial problems and poor educational achievement.

Instead of closing down school district buildings, the state decided to create a financially stable plan and path for Benton Harbor Area Schools to make a return to a steady fiscal situation.

"The 2020-21 fiscal year was a milestone year for Benton Harbor Area Schools. For the first time since 2007, the district ended the fiscal year with a positive fund balance in its operating fund, the ‘General Fund.’ Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the district’s continued decline in student enrollment, the Board of Education and the administration were able to successfully complete the 14-year deficit recovery mission,” stated Hungerford-Nichols, an independent, outside auditor firm.

Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Andrae Townsel discussed on Monday how the area's ‘Tiger spirit’ was a large contributing factor to helping the school district recover from its financial instability.

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