Town hall meeting held to discuss the future of Benton Harbor High School
BENTON HARBOR, Mich – The Benton Harbor Area Schools school board held a town hall meeting on Tuesday to discuss the future of Benton Harbor High School.
As ABC57 reported last month the state of Michigan proposed a plan to close Benton Harbor High School and keep K-8 in exchange for forgiving a portion of the school districts debt.
“My mom graduated from this school and I will become the first male in my family to graduate from this school but if it closed that can’t happen,” Benton Harbor High School student Lecoreon Travier said.
The Journey for Justice Alliance National Director Jitu Brown said the whole plan is a coordinated effort by state officials to close the whole school district.
“This is no different than the story in Chicago, Camden, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Jackson Mississippi, Little Rock all these places that are primarily black or brown are being starved and then the notion of school closings is being used to pretend as if this is about the children,” Brown said.
Wayne State University Professor Thomas Pedroni said the financial problems at Benton Harbor Area Schools are the direct result of many state policies including Michigan’s School Choice policy which lowers enrollment numbers in some districts which in turn lowers a Public School District’s resources.
“It was really state policies coupled with state management that led to a lot of the hardships that district’s like Benton Harbor face,” Pedroni said.
Former students, teachers and various community members attended the town hall to hear what the future of Benton Harbor High School could be.
“It’s just very important to come out here and show that we are together here as one unit we support the city and we support the High School as alumni it’s very important to be here to support the kids that’s here show they deserve a proper education the same way as any kid in St. Joe, Berrien Springs and any other school system around here,” NBA player and Benton Harbor High School alumni Wilson Chandler said.
Michigan’s Governor Whitmer is expected to be in the city of Benton Harbor on Wednesday to discuss options for the district in the future.