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Grand Rapids School Board wants city to become the state's next Promise Zone

Dec 19, 2017

The Grand Rapids School Board wants to send every high school student in the city to college tuition-free.

The school board applied for Promise Zone designation with the Department of Treasury this week.

Getting the designation would allow the city to capture some property tax revenues and put them into a fund for college scholarships.

Teresa Weatheral-Neal, the superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, say that would benefit students at public, charter and private schools. 

“We can change the lives of thousands of children if we are honored to be designated as a Promise Zone,” Weatheral-Neal said.

Michigan currently has ten promise zones. Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation to expand that number to 15.

Weatheral-Neal says the idea behind Promise Zones is to make college affordable for students who would otherwise have a very hard time paying for two- or four-year programs.

“It is a win-win for children as well as for members in this Grand Rapids community,” she said.

There will be a public school board meeting on December 29 to discuss the application process and address residents’ questions.