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Benton Harbor Area Schools may partner with consulting firm to turn around district

NOW: Benton Harbor Area Schools may partner with consulting firm to turn around district

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Benton Harbor Area schools is seeking ideas from a management consulting firm to solve their financial problems and turn around the district. 

The consulting firm offered ideas of how to recover from the debt the school district is facing and a strategic plan of how to implement it. 

“It wasn’t overnight where any of our districts that have had these sorts of economic challenges got to and it’s not going to be an overnight fix,” Banks & Company Director Eric Foster said. 

Benton Harbor Area Schools school board Vice President Joseph Taylor said the time is now to make the necessary changes. 

“In our cooperative agreement it talks about the Superintendent or the CEO having a strategic plan, we haven’t seen the strategic plan and so it’s imperative that the board since we are going to take back power or leadership on June 30ththat we start creating a strategic plan to stabilize our district,” Taylor said. 

The school board does not have the ability to hire the firm because the CEO & Superintendent Dr. Robert Herrera holds the power to hire until June 30th

A major issue the district is facing is they’re losing approximately 5 percent of their students every year, which affects the bottom line. 

The districts short term cash flow problem was addressed when the school board passed a resolution to avoid a cash shortage in the upcoming months, allowing teachers to be paid for the remainder of the year. 

Taylor said the school has been dealing with financial problems for years and they will overcome it.  

“I mean we’ve been in financial instability for years, this is nothing news, we’ve made it out of the weeds then and we will make it out of the weeds now,” Taylor said. 

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