Flint, MI—Flint Community Schools (FCS) is looking to explore a relationship with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to build a new school.
“What is before the Board currently is a proposal for us to possibly partner with the Mott Foundation for a high school,” said Kevelin Jones, FCS superintendent, during a Board of Education subcommittee meeting on Jan. 30, 2023.
Currently, Southwestern Classical Academy is the district’s only high school.
The proposed new school could be built from the ground up or utilize existing property at the former Central High School and Whittier Classical Academy campus, Jones said. He added that the school might also include sections geared toward smaller class sizes and opportunities for career and technical education.
Jones told Flint Beat the FCS administration originally presented the same proposal to the former Flint Schools Board after the body adopted the 2022-2027 strategic plan in June 2022. Since then, five new members have joined the Board, and Jones said the current Board was briefed about the proposal during its orientation.
Jones did not confirm a dollar amount the administration hopes to pursue from the Mott Foundation for the school’s construction, saying the district would need to study the estimated costs of the project first.
But, he noted, FCS also hopes to build four new elementary schools and renovate Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School, adding that building new schools could help increase enrollment.
“Our families are saying, ‘Why can’t we have a new school building? Where’s our new building?’” Jones told Flint Beat. “So we’re saying, ‘We need to build one.’ It’s been since the early 70s. Why can’t Flint Community Schools have new buildings?”
Support from the Mott Foundation is not unheard of for the Flint Schools district, although a prior draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) including up to $200 million of investment from the foundation, died amid transparency concerns after being leaked in 2021.
According to a foundation spokesperson, the Mott Foundation has granted “more than $85.5 million directly to, or in support of, FCS” between 2013 to 2022.
Dylan Luna, Board treasurer, told Flint Beat that he has called for the FCS administration’s proposal to be on the Board’s Feb. 8 meeting agenda, and Jones said the potential new school is a priority for him.
“I’m absolutely going to push all I can as a superintendent to get a new building in this district for our scholars,” he said.