Board considers resident's ideas to save Saginaw High - WNEM TV 5

Board considers resident's ideas to save Saginaw High

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Now that the public has had two opportunities to weigh in on what should be the fate of Saginaw High School, members of the Board of Education took time Tuesday night to review their suggestions.

"It's time for the board to actually ask the questions," said Board President Beverly Yanca. "We had five plans presented and were going to review those, not just the ideas of those plans but monetarily how they would affect the district."

The district is looking for ways to close a $5 million budget gap. Last week, Superintendent Carlton Jenkins proposed a plan to close three schools including Saginaw High.

But some residents say there are better options. One group suggested acquiring the former Buena Vista High School building and using it to consolidate Sasa and Handley schools in addition to eliminating some administrative and maintenance positions.

Business developer and City Council Member Norman Braddock also presented his own plan. He proposed shutting down seven buildings, including Heavenrich and Houghton Elementary schools. Instead of closing Saginaw High, Braddock thinks it and Arthur Hill should be converted to seventh through 12th grade schools. He also says giving the Saginaw Career Complex to the intermediate school district would save money.

"We've struggled for years trying to get kids to go to the career complex. ... If the ISD owned it, we wouldn't have to pay. The ISD would be responsible for financing those kids going there," Braddock commented.

District leaders must submit an approved deficit elimination plan to the state Feb. 18.

Still, Board Member Mattie Thompson says the opinions of members of the community must be taken into consideration.

"If we don't make the right decision now, we will be back at the table three months from now. We have to make sure we don't lose that many students," Thompson said.

Another meeting has been scheduled for Thursday. A vote on a plan is expected Monday. Count on TV5 for continuing coverage.

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