Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making Sense of the Flint Board of Education

Seriously, if anyone can explain the Flint Board of Education to me, I'm all ears. As you may remember, the board opted to close Central High School, then refused to sell it to Powers High for relocation. Now there's a large empty building sitting in the heart of the cultural district.

Now comes this news from Melissa Burden of The Flint Journal:
The Flint Board of Education gave the OK today for two churches to meet for the next year in two closed school buildings.

The board in unanimous vote agreed to renew its lease with Cathedral of Faith Ministries Church of God in Christ at the closed Gundry Elementary School, 6031 Dupont St. on the city's north side.

It also 7-0 voted to a least part of the closed Longfellow Middle School building, 1255 N. Chevrolet Ave., to El Bethel Evangelistic Missionary Baptist Church, which has a Davison address.

Board members David Davenport and Stephanie Robb Martin were absent.

"I like to see the buildings being occupied," said Vera J. Perry, board president. "(I'm) happy to see churches in the buildings."

Really? So why is Central sitting empty while Powers continues to look for a new location?

According to an earlier item in the Journal, the board apparently wants to reopen Central in four years, or tear it down and build a new school. They just need to some how, some way scare up the millions to do it. Is there any plan whatsoever to make this a reality? Can anyone explain what the board is thinking when it comes to Central? And what sort of influence does the mayor's office have over the board?


  1. The board wants to tear Central down. They figure letting it rot for several years will make it impossible to restore it. Powers was just a minor annoyance when they offered to buy the school, which allegedly needs $36 million in repairs. Powers would have waltzed in and had the school up and running in no time for a fraction of the money, thereby showing up the Board. So they just ignored the offer.

    But this is just me trying to fathom the board's scheming based on Journal articles. I'd love to hear what someone with actual knowledge of the subject had to say.

  2. If the board had been smart and had taken Powers up on its offer for Central it would have been such an opportunity to bring a viable institution, a badly needed cash injection and, in short, a little life into downtown Flint, not to mention a chance to keep a historical building up and running. But no, we can't have that, can we? I have no insight into the board' processes, and am simply unable to fathom any rational reason as to why they would have turned down the offer. Who's going to make a better one?

  3. The person you are looking for does not exist.

  4. Well Sable, that plan is certainly working well for Genessee Towers, so it's a possibility.

    But you're right, it would be nice to hear what someone closer to the issue has to say... anyone... anyone?

  5. Plus - once Powers moved in it may have helped to save the College Cultural neighborhood. Maybe houses in the once thriving neighborhood would have sold for more than $20k.

    Is the only downside of the Powers deal that it would have been competition for the Flint Schools?

  6. I've heard the competition argument before, but I'm not sure it's valid. Why would Flint public school kids suddenly flock to Powers because it's located near downtown? It's not that hard to get to in its current location. I think they have a bus system of some sort. I mean if you were really dissatisfied with the public school system, wouldn't you have fled to Powers already?

  7. Maybe there's some source of federal or state money out there that the board knows about and is trying to get? No idea, but I'm assuming they have some idea of how to rebuild the school. please don't tell me they're just winging it in the hopes of getting some cash down the line. If that's the case, the mayors office really needs to step in and exert some influence.

  8. > If that's the case, the mayors office really needs to step in and exert some influence. <

    The Mayor's office is already having a hard time keeping their own half-sunken, very leaky ship afloat. I don't think they're going to want to get involved with responsibility for a second ship that seems to only be still afloat because of inertia.


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