Flint’s Board of Education last night deadlocked on plans to close a half dozen schools next fall. The board argued for more than five hours before giving up hope of agreeing on which middle and elementary schools to close.
Board member David Davenport strongly opposed two different proposals which would have closed the districts three middle schools and three elementary schools, most on the city's northside.
"That's not fair to the children who are going to suffer," said Davenport, "Because they're going to be packed in or bussed somewhere else."
Several board members also expressed concerns with expanding the student populations at Flint's high schools to include 7th and 8th grade students.
Next year the school district is looking at a $19 million deficit. Closing schools is critical for the district to stay within a deficit reduction plan submitted to the state. A point that several Board of Education members repeatedly cited.
"We’ll just have to go back to see if we can craft it so that we get one more vote," said board member Harold Woodson after the meeting, "That’s basically what we need. One more vote to get it moved forward so…..but it has to happen.”
And it has to happen quickly.
The Flint Board of Education will soon have to pass a budget plan for next year. That plan will require decisions to be made as to which schools will be open this fall.
One member of the public told the board members that they were in a "pickle". A statement none of the board members appeared to disagree with.