State and teachers weigh in on budget cuts for Benton Harbor schools

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — The Benton Harbor School Board has just weeks to figure out how to cut $4 million out of its budget or the state will cut them off financially. 

The Michigan Department of Education head said the school district gets one check every month from the state and legally those could checks could stop coming unless the school board does a better job at balancing their budget. 

The only problem? The district can barely stay afloat without them.

"The state's been breathing down our back since I been here," said teacher Shay Briggs.

Briggs has been teaching at Benton Harbor High School for 12 years. It is a job she says would not trade for all the money in the world.

"I mean, these kids really need good teachers. Just trying to provide some support for that might be offered in other places," said Briggs.

Teachers in Benton Harbor have gone through it all, from pay cuts to pink slips and the uncertainty of not knowing if or when the state will stop funding them altogether.

The only silver-lining is that constant hardships provide a sense of unity here.

Briggs knows the future of the district is unknown. She cannot control the budget checks and finances. But she can make sure her young students know she will support them through whatever lies ahead.

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