Deal may keep Benton Harbor High School open

Southwest Michigan

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — A new agreement may create a pathway to keep Benton Harbor High School open.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has reached a tentative deal with the school board.

The agreement provides a pathway to keep the high school open — if the district can address its debt and meet academic benchmarks.  

Many parents are hopeful this will help ensure a future for the district, but some still have doubts it will provide what is needed.

Apollonia Williams has four kids in the district and is cautiously optimistic.

“We were elated about her decision and that just goes to show that we do have another chance. Now, we’re just ready to go to work,” Williams said.

Maurice McAfee, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, does not believe the plan will ultimately keep the school open.

“It just seems like there are more hoops to jump through with less resources and less time,” McAfee said.

He is calling on Whitmer to provide more funding to the district.

“I think this is another avenue to articulate why we should be closed because I don’t think we’re going to be able to meet those things that she put out, based on where we are now and the resources that we have,” McAfee said.

Gregory Hill, a 2019 graduate of Benton Harbor High School, is trying to remain optimistic.

“I feel like all the good things that happen at the school are always masked by all the negativity,” Hill said.

While it’s unclear what the future will bring, Hill says the high school gave him the education he needed to become successful.

“I feel like my school is like any other school. You get what you put in. So, if you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out,” Hill said.

The school board still has to vote on the agreement before it is final.

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