BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- The Benton Harbor School Corporation took a huge step Tuesday night to try to keep Michigan from taking over the city's high school, coming up with its third plan for high school improvement.
The first two plans were rejected by the state. The last one was rejected just before winter break, but the deadline for the plan is Jan. 21.
The school board voted unanimously in favor of the new plan, but the problem was getting the teachers union on board.
Staring down the barrel of a possible state take-over at Benton Harbor High School, the teachers union, superintendent and school board came to a final agreement on a plan for improvement, with just two weeks before the state's deadline.
"So this was the third and last opportunity to reach an agreement," Steven Durfee, Benton Harbor Education Association president, said. "If we didn't come to an agreement, we would have lost the high school by the 21st."
But Durfee says it wasn't easy. The new plan changes tenure rights, the high school scheduling system and holds teachers accountable for student achievement.
"We had to make the state aware, and the staff aware and the community aware that the teachers are serious about student achievement and are willing to have our evaluations based, partially on student achievement," Durfee said.
How those evaluations will be handled is still being hashed out, but administrators and teacher union leaders are hopeful the third time will be the charm.
"There are many things with measuring achievement that we still have to work out, but we've made the initial step and hopefully this step will be accepted by the state," Durfee added.