Benton Harbor school board enters consent agreement with state
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Because the Benton Harbor school district is $15 million in debt, the school board voted Monday to enter a consent agreement with the state.
"Yes the district is in a financial emergency," said Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood.
The board had four options: to declare bankruptcy, to hire an emergency manager, to go into mediation, or to enter a consent agreement.
Because of the financial debt of Benton Harbor schools, the board decided the consent agreement was the best option.
"State law only allows six years to pay off your debt, but now with this consent agreement, the state can give us more years to pay all that off," said Dr. Martha Momany, the school board President.
Now the district can put money into classrooms instead of paying off debt.
"It's an opportunity to reinvest back into our children," said Dr. Seawood.
The consent agreement means Benton Harbor schools can keep local control, but they still have to meet certain state guidelines.
Those will be laid out in the next 30 days.