Benton Harbor schools superintendent resigns

Southwest Michigan
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — The superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools has stepped down, giving the school board more power than its currently mainly advisory role.

Robert Herrera’s resignation was accepted at a special board meeting Monday.

The move comes as the state weighs its options for the struggling school district, which has posted poor academic performance in recent years.

Last month, the state announced a plan to shutter the high school in 2020 and send the students to several surrounding districts. The state said other options include dissolving the district altogether or turning it into a charter school system.

Community members don’t like either of those plans, so Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would give the board more time to come up with a “viable alternative.”

On Monday, the board released an open letter to Whitmer urging a third option: keep the high school open and the district in place through “strong collaboration with the Governor’s Office and all State and Federal agencies” and “accountability on all sides.”

The letter asked the governor specifically to help the district address its debt — some $16 million, the state says — and ask the Michigan Department of Education to designate the district a critical shortage area so it can recruit retired teachers.

School leaders are holding a press conference Tuesday in Lansing. They will meet with Whitmer the following day.

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