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Saginaw school board members decide not to consolidate city's two high schools

Feb 19, 2015

Saginaw High School students cheered last night.

They didn’t win the big game.   District leaders decided not to close their school.

An overflow crowd jammed last night's Saginaw school board meeting.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw’s two high schools are well under capacity and struggling academically. 

Interim School Superintendent Kelly Peatross wanted the Saginaw School Board to agree to consolidate the two schools (Saginaw and Arthur Hill) into one. 

But after months of debate, the board couldn’t muster enough support for the proposal to even bring it up for a vote.

“I believe we’re doing a disservice to our students,” Peatross said after the meeting.  

Peatross says consolidating the two schools would allow the district to save money and spend more on art, music and other elective courses. 

Interim school superintendent Kelley Peatross (right) listens as Saginaw High School senior Calvin King-Thomas makes his case to keep the school open beyond this year
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The board’s decision thrilled Saginaw High School senior Calvin King-Thomas. But he knows his school remains under threat.

“It may be over, but it’s not over,” says King-Thomas, “The same thing that could have happened tonight could happen in the future.”

District teachers supported closing Saginaw High School.   They were very disappointed by the board’s decision not to close the school

“We continue making decisions that keep us in debt,” says Ann Rutherford, with the Michigan Education Association.  

Saginaw High School's future remains clouded by a potential takeover by the EAA for academic performance problems
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several teachers say, in the wake of last night’s decision, they will not support any further pay and benefit cuts.  

Saginaw schools may soon end years of red ink. The district is selling a former school building to an education company. The sale price will practically pay off the district’s four million dollar deficit. 

But Superintendent Peatross worries that if steps aren’t taken to consolidate, the district may find its way back into debt.