Flint Northern to give last diploma this year - WNEM TV 5

Flint Northern to give last diploma this year, 4 schools to be closed

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Flint Northern is one of Mid-Michigan's most iconic schools. It may be best known for its great athletic teams, but for those who watched children grow and become adults, the school meant so much more. But 2013 will be the school's last.

It's one of the district's major moves to help combat an $11-million budget deficit.

"I think it's terrible because Northern has always been an outstanding school," Sue Williams, a former Flint teacher, said.

Williams taught in Flint schools for 29 years. Many of her students graduated from Northern High School. She's retired now, and says she's stunned they would close the school.

"I never thought I'd hear the number of schools closing as they have in the last few years," said Williams.

Wednesday night, Flint School Board members said more changes had to come. The Northern High School Building will be repurposed as a seventh- through ninth-grade alternative education center and also take over Zimmerman School's adult education programs. That's because the board also voted to shut down Zimmerman School permanently next year, along with Bryant, Dort and Washington Elementary Schools.

Flint Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins told those in attendance at Wednesday night's meeting he believes this will help the district and its students move forward.

"We want to retain the students that we have and reclaim students as well," Watkins said.

The plan also calls for reopening Holmes school and repurposing Brownell Elementary to be a pre-K through sixth-grade pod setting. The schools will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The students who attend Northern High School will be transferred to Northwestern and Southwestern High Schools.

Last year, the school board voted to close four schools, including its two middle schools. Flint Central closed it's doors due to declining enrollment and maintenance costs. Board members say maintence at the building was the most expensive in the entire district and saved Flint schools about $4 million a year.

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