GENERIC: School hallway

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration is proposing to close Benton Harbor High School in fall 2020 and send students elsewhere in the corner of southwestern Michigan.

State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks says, "Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option."

In a statement Friday, the state says the Benton Harbor district has more than $16 million in debt and students aren't performing well. Only 3 percent of third-graders could read at grade level in 2018, and no high school juniors were considered ready for college in the past five years.

Eubanks says the state's plan means K-8 students "can get the skills they need" while high school students can get on a path to success at area schools or Lake Michigan College.

The state says the school district will be shut down or turned into a charter school system if the Benton Harbor school board doesn't approve the plan.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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