School debt forgiveness for Benton Harbor Area Schools
BENTON HARBOR, Mich - Benton Harbor Area Schools just hit a major milestone, reaching more than $12 million in debt forgiveness.
A big champion of school debt forgiveness in Benton Harbor is Michigan State House representative Joey Andrews.
According to Andrews, education is one of the ways to lift people out of poverty.
“The debt burden is just insurmountable, and I think it's important that we give the kids the best chance to succeed,” said Andrews.
Benton Harbor Area Schools received some much-needed financial relief for a loan that was taken out as an emergency measure years ago.
Superintendent of Benton Harbor schools, Dr Kelvin Butts says the district would have had to make yearly payments of $500,000 to $600,000 through 2046 to pay off the remaining debt.
Dr. Butts now compares the debt forgiveness to having a clean slate and feels that this shows statehouse leaders to have faith in the future of Benton Harbor Schools.
For Dr. Butts, the debt forgiveness evens the playing field.
"[It puts] us on the track to now be able to sustain and bring up our facilities, [...] use those funds to put back into our facilities," he said. "We can put back into our academics for our students. It helps us to push forward our vision for our students in the area."
Now that the debt is wiped clean, Representative Andrews says it will be easier to hire new teachers.
Benton Harbor isn't the only school district that's benefiting, five more schools in Michigan are also debt relief recipients.