- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Benton Harbor school officials have voted to enter into a consent agreement with the state of Michigan to address the district’s financial emergency.

The board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to work with the state. Gov. Rick Snyder determined in August that there is a financial emergency in the western Michigan district.

The district will follow state guidelines to return to financial stability. Superintendent Leonard Seawood says the district negotiated with the state to “make sure it was a true partnership.” He says the plan includes different debt repayment schedules and efforts to keep talented teachers in the schools longer.

A state financial review team says the Berrien County district had a $15.5 million deficit on June 30, 2013. Enrollment has fallen 43 percent to 2,680 in the past decade.

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