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Flint schools ponder future of unused former schools

Sep 1, 2015

Flint’s new school superintendent wants to do something with the district’s unused buildings.

Flint School Superintendent Bilal Tawwab outlines his plans for the upcoming school year to an enthusiastic audience of school district teachers and employees.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says he’s forming a task force to figure out what’s the best thing to do with nearly two dozen empty school buildings, many of which have sat unused for years.

“I know many of our community neighbors feel they are eyesores,” says Tawwab, “so I definitely feel that’s something we need to address.”

Efforts to sell school buildings in Flint have been complicated by the buildings’ sizes, locations, and a saturated commercial real estate market.

Tawwab says the solution must address the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

The superintendent hopes to get the task force working this month. 

Tawwab has been on the job fewer than three weeks in Flint. He previously worked for Detroit Public Schools.

He’s taking over a Flint school district that has been forced to close schools and consolidate as the student population has shrunk from more than 40,000 to roughly 6,000 today.  

The district is working under a seven-year plan to eliminate a multimillion dollar budget deficit.