Flint, MI— Flint Community Schools and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation are starting from scratch concerning a $200 million grant that would help the district build new schools. 

The original plan for the money was drafted in a Memorandum of Understanding titled the Flint Education Continuum. It called for the cooperation of the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, the Mott Foundation, and several other organizations to revitalize the district. 

The document laid out a multi-tiered plan that involved building five new school buildings, fighting blight in surrounding neighborhoods, and partnering with local organizations to work with Flint students. The MOU had undergone at least eight drafts since 2018. 

But after months of strife concerning the administration’s transparency about the MOU, discussions were put on hold. Now, both parties are starting over with what they’re calling a “Collective Impact Agreement.” 

“A lot has transpired since the potential MOU was first drafted, and that document is now outdated,” Thomas Parker, executive in residence and program officer at the Mott Foundation, said.

While the details of the plan remain to be seen, Parker said the district is seeking community input.  

“A collective impact agreement is a collective of not only our school district, but the community,” Superintendent Kevelin Jones said during a special board meeting Feb. 24. 

In June 2021, CEO of the Mott Foundation Ridgway White asked the Board of Education to let the Mott Foundation help and work with them to determine the best use for the available grant dollars. But the board took no further action.

By October, board members said they would open the door to conversation. In a 6-0 vote, with now-President Danielle Green absent, they agreed to schedule a meeting with White. Since then, there have been no public discussions about the grant. 

“The Mott Foundation is talking with leadership at FCS and the (Board of Education) about what’s needed now and whether there’s an appropriate role for the Mott Foundation to play in providing assistance,” Parker said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...