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Parents in Benton Harbor get ready for upcoming school year

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Benton Harbor High School

Parents and students in Benton Harbor are getting ready for the upcoming school year.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration had proposed closing Benton Harbor high school next year. But the state backed down from that proposal last week.

The district held a student fair over the weekend.

Tomika Spencer has two children in the district. She says she never considered switching districts.

“My children get great schooling here, good opportunities here, they enjoy going to school here," Spencer says. “I don’t have any problems with the schools, the teachers, the principals, nothing at all. So I wasn’t going to move my children out of the district unless we absolutely had to.”

The state says the district is $18.4 million in debt.

One way to stabilize the finances is to stabilize and increase enrollment.

Shelon Taylor  has a son at Benton Harbor High School. She says her son will stay.

“I was holding on to faith,” Taylor says. “And my son, I said ‘Do you want to go to another district?’ He said, ‘No, I want to stay here in Benton Harbor.’ And I said, ‘Then that’s what we’re going to do.’”

The district’s superintendent, Patricia Robinson, says they’re also trying to recruit new staff. As of this weekend, they had 28 vacant positions to fill.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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