School board to hire consultant to work with district, state

The Benton Harbor School Board continues to push forward in their mission to get out of a$16 million deficit.

Tuesday, the board voted to hire a consultant who will serve as a liaison between Benton Harbor Schools and the state of Michigan's Department of Treasury.

The consultant will collaborate with the board, advise them, and ultimately help Benton Harbor Schools regain financial stability.

“Really it's an opportunity for us to have a fresh start, to look at finances very differently, and again, start the serious process of eliminating our deficit,” said Benton Harbor Schools Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood.

The superintendent said without this consent agreement with the state, there would have been little money to support the students they serve.

“Dealing with such a deficit, it would have required us to make some drastic cuts which would have been devastating to the community and students in which we serve,” Seawood said.

However, he said this financial crisis is not unique to Benton Harbor.

“Students in many urban districts around the state have been impacted by this. These are structural deficits that have everything to do with a declining tax base, declining enrollment, the funding base for the state of Michigan. So all of these things contribute to this challenge,” Seawood said.

A consultant has not yet been appointed.
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