Mott Foundation explains pulling funding from Flint schools over new board policy

Flint Community Schools parents concerned about impact on after-school programming
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:49 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (07/20/2021) - The C.S. Mott Foundation President and CEO is speaking up, explaining why the organization is putting a freeze on dollars to Flint Community Schools this upcoming calendar year.

This comes after last month when the school board issued a warning to the district’s Superintendent to stop talking with community partners on her own.

The Superintendent was ordered to have the School Board President with her during those meetings, and that order from the School Board played a big part in this decision to pause all funding.

President and CEO, Ridgway White wrote a letter to the School Board President, drafting it after that resolution passed last month.

He sat on it for a few weeks, waiting for some clarity, but since that hasn’t happened, he says he was forced to take action.

”An inability to communicate with Superintendent Steward, and so we have no idea what’s going on with Flint Community Schools, White said.

White says his organization has had no contact with leadership at Flint Community Schools within the past month. All because of a directive handed down last month by the School Board, barring Superintendent Anita Steward from communicating with community partners without the presence of the Board President and a designee.

“All that we ask is that the Mott Foundation and the grantees that support Flint Community Schools would be permitted to have timely and direct communication with the Superintendent,” White said.

White says Mott has tried multiple times to reach out to the School Board President Carol McIntosh without a response, and without being allowed to communicate with Steward, they have no idea what’s happening with Flint Community Schools.

This is forcing the foundation to pause grant dollars for programs like the Crim for Community Education and after-school programming like YouthQuest.

“We have to be able to communicate with the leadership. That goes for any grantee that we would work with. It’s just not fiscally responsible to partner with somebody that’s not able to communicate because of a board directive.”

It’s those communication problems that are starting to impact Flint kids. The current three-month grant for programs expire on September 28, meaning the clock is ticking for the district to work in the best interest of its students.

“A lot of us work, and we depend on YouthQuest to keep our kids after school a couple extra hours, and without that, I’m not really sure how we’re going to manage,” parent Brittny Giles said.

ABC12 reached out to the Flint School Board President, Carol McIntosh by phone and email. We have not heard back from her.

White said half a dozen times that the Mott Foundation is committed to supporting Flint kids.

The discussion will continue during the School Board’s meeting Wednesday night at 6:30 at Walter Scott Elementary School at 1602 South Averill Avenue between I-69 and Lapeer Road.

Count on on ABC12 for coverage.

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