LaSata bill would preserve promise scholarships for eligible Benton Harbor students

LANSING, Mich. — Students residing within the Benton Harbor promise zone boundaries would remain eligible for a promise scholarship if circumstances lead to their graduating from another high school within the regional educational service agency under a bill introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Kim LaSata.

“Benton Harbor students are facing an uncertain future in which their high school may close or the entire school district may be dissolved,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “As a former educator, I know firsthand the importance of a quality education as the foundation for student success.

“Regardless of what is decided about the school district, it is important that students’ academic opportunities and achievement remain the priority. My bill would preserve the promise scholarship opportunity for eligible students in either proposed scenario to ensure that those Benton Harbor area students are able to pursue a postsecondary education.”

Senate Bill 359 would ensure eligible Benton Harbor High School students receive a scholarship through the Benton Harbor Promise regardless of which school in the regional educational service agency they might graduate from.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration recently encouraged the Benton Harbor Area School District to close the high school because of its financial situation and academic performance or face the possibility of having the entire school district dissolved.

“I am very concerned about the problems facing Benton Harbor Area Schools, and agree improvements are needed,” LaSata said. “I am encouraged by everyone who has come to the table in support of the students and am hopeful that whatever is decided by local leaders will provide students with the best possible educational options available to them.”

SB 359 was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.