Creates a Promise Zone for all children attending schools in the city
LANSING, Mich. — Today Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint) announced that he is continuing the push to designate Flint as a Promise Zone. The Promise Zone initiative, based off the extremely successful Kalamazoo Promise, allows local communities to pool resources and use tax increment financing to help all students afford a college education.
“As a former teacher, I know how painful it is to see a child full of potential be unable to afford higher education,” Sen. Ananich said. “These kids have had to worry about far too much for their young age, due to the water crisis. The least we can do is help ease their stress about how they will pay for college.”
Sen. Ananich has pursued an expansion of Promise Zones since his time on the Flint City Council. Last session, he sponsored Senate Bills 539 and 540, which created a process to dissolve an existing Promise Zone while establishing a new one in its place. Those bipartisan bills became law on February 16, 2016. The bill announced today – Senate Bill 98 – will create a new Promise Zone designated for Flint.
CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce Tim Herman noted the benefits a Promise Zone would provide to the local economy.
“There’s an inherent link between schools and community,” said Herman. “When schools are successful, business and communities thrive. The Chamber is deeply committed to the students of Flint and we are proud to support the Promise Zone legislation.”
Joining Sen. Ananich to announce the legislation was Flint Community Schools Board of Education President Harold Woodson, who said making Flint a Promise Zone would be a true “game changer” for Flint students.
“Too many students in our schools have the skills and ambition to go to college or attend trade skills programs, but the price tag is just too high,” President Woodson said. “Having access to the scholarships that a Promise Zone provides would offer a sense of opportunity and hope to these young minds. When educators, policymakers and the business community work together, we can change the lives of a whole generation of Flint students.”
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