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Saginaw Public Schools hope five-year strategic plan will help bring back students

(WJRT)
Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 12:24 AM EST
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(02/12/2020) - Saginaw Public Schools is hoping a plan to build a brand new school in the heart of downtown will help bring back students and excitement.

It's part of the shrinking district's five year strategic plan that was introduced on Saturday.

Board President Jason Thompson who says the vote will happen at the next board meeting.

On Wednesday, the board and the public both seemed open to investing in the plan, speaking on the district's rich history and an urge to retain and recapture its students.

Darlean Carpenter has lived in Saginaw for over 50 years.

For 45 of those last 50, she's volunteered with Saginaw Public Schools, remembering how the district once captivated her entire neighborhood.

"When my children was in school, all the children in the neighborhood went to Saginaw Public Schools. There might have been maybe one or two students from the block that went to maybe Parochial school," Carpenter said.

Now, it's flipped completely upside down.

Carpenter says there might be one or two total students on her block attending Saginaw Public Schools.

"I'm accustomed to having children come to my neighborhood, come to my house. They'd plan in the backyard. My grandchildren would play in the back, but now they're not," Carpenter said.

Saginaw Public Schools Board President Jason Thompson graduated from Saginaw High School in 1989. Like Arthur Hill High School, the plan would be to close Saginaw High School in June 2023.

Parts of each building would be re-purposed for after-school programming, but most of it would be demolished.

He says he has that nostalgic feeling but admits there's a bigger issue with some of the building's aging infrastructure.

"Sometimes, you just need to move forward. The building is old. You can't modernize them too much. You can upgrade them, but you can't really make a state-of-the-art new facility, and I think our kids deserve that," Thompson said.

After the vote next week, the next big question will be the bond.

The Board hopes to get the bond on the November ballot, so their next step will be ballot language and campaigning in the community.

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