Benton Harbor Schools 'urgently requests' Gov. Whitmer attend open forum
BENTON HARBOR, Mich.-- Benton Harbor Area School Board and the community are not only demanding Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer reconsider her stance to close the school, but they’re requesting that she appear in person.
"A lot of parents grew up here, graduated, so this is a big deal," said Benton Harbor High School Alumni, Jackie Woods.
That’s just one of the seemingly hundreds of concerned Benton Harbor High School District residents who don’t want to lose their district's only public high school.
“They want us to take the 10.8 or 11 million dollars in lieu of disposing our high school. So we’re saying hey we need to come back to the table and re-talk because to use that’s not an option," said Benton Harbor Area School Board Vice President, Joseph Taylor.
Speaking around the table is what they’re requesting from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
On Friday, the state met with Benton Harbor officials but in this letter, sent from the school board to Governor Whitmer, they say meeting with state representatives is not enough.
“She's stated that she's about helping disenfranchised school districts. Shes about right sizing and helping to have a good government and so lets do that governor, lets not go back on your word," said Taylor.
One Benton Harbor High School alumni and now guardian to a current student agrees.
“I think she should be there to even to listen to the community to see what they have to say. Maybe there’s a couple of students that have something to say about the situation and it might make a change," said Woods.
I reached out to Governor Whitmer's office to see if she plans to go to Tuesday's meeting but have not received a response.
Taylor says other school districts who have gone through the same are going to be there to speak up and support.
“We’re going to have Flint down here, we’re going to have Saginaw, so we’re pulling out the punches just like they are. So we’re saying we’re not going to go down without a fight so she can come to the table. Let’s reorganize, restrategize, find a plan that's applicable to all concerned," said Taylor.
The first of a series of open public meetings will be on Tuesday, June 4th.
If Benton Harbor Schools does not accept that states proposal, state legislature would take over and could disband the school system all together.