Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Andrae Townsel has been granted emergency powers by the board of education to manage the district during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a Tuesday meeting, Townsel told trustees the resolution they were considering would enable him to take steps to comply with emergency orders without first getting approval.
“The district is asking the board to grant the superintendent temporary authority to waive board approvals and take any lawful actions necessary to comply with the executive orders in order to ensure the continuation of public education services and to provide for the health and safety of students,” Townsel said.
Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education President Joseph Taylor said school districts across the state and nation have been granting extra authority to their superintendents to handle the pandemic going all the way back to May. The board’s vote also enables Townsel to make purchases of sanitation materials and other equipment needed to protect students. The vote was unanimous. Townsel said he would update board members on a regular basis regarding actions he’s taken.