'It's ours;' Benton Harbor Mayor sticks up for school district at city hall

NOW: ’It’s ours;’ Benton Harbor Mayor sticks up for school district at city hall

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. --- At a city hall meeting Thursday, Benton Harbor’s mayor stuck up for the school district.

It’s all in reaction to that drastic plan that could shut down Benton Harbor High School as a way to re-structure the failing district.

They sang, they chanted, and most importantly they had a message for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and that was: “Not our school.”

“Media, if you need a headline let them know it’s ours,” Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad said.

Muhmmad expressed his strong opposition to the state’s proposal to shut down the high school.

“The treasury saying that Benton Harbor high is in the crossroads… but I am saying respectfully to Governor Whitmer, your administration is in the cross roads,” Muhammad said.

Part of the reasoning to close the school was that students were not college ready but the mayor said that the data presented by the state was skewed.

Muhammad is not the only one who stepped up tonight to pressure Governor Whitmer. Pastors, Benton Harbor teachers and students, and activists also expressed their disdain for the states proposal and expressed that they did not think the governor is keeping her campaign promises.  

At the meeting they passed out copies of Whitmer’s 12 page proposal to better public schools in Michigan titled “Get It Done: Better Schools Now for Michigan Students.” In the proposal, she vows to stabilize public school funding but Muhammad said that shutting the school down is the opposite of that promise.

“Already 19 million will be going out of Benton Harbor because of school of choice, but if you shut down the high school then many jobs will be lost,” Muhammad said.

The city also asked  Governor Whitmer to be in attendance of a school board meeting on Tuesday. Her office said she would not be there but that she would be visiting the city very soon.

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