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Muskegon Heights education leaders clash at special school board meeting

The PSA board will now draft a corrective action plan to better improve communication and workflow between the two boards and New Paradigm.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — For the second night in a row, it was standing room only as Muskegon Heights school leaders met to discuss ongoing complaints in the district. This time, both of the district's boards met to hash out their differences.

Because Muskegon Heights is a public charter school, there are two boards governing the district. Monday night, the public school academy (PSA) board met on its own. On Tuesday, that board met with the district board, and things got contentious early on.

The meeting began with district board president Trinell Scott reading a letter sent to PSA board members in the last month, calling for professionalism.

"Any board member unable to understand our request should consider other opportunities for service," read Scott.

PSA board members later addressed the letter, saying they felt offended and threatened they'd be fired for speaking out against district management, New Paradigm for Education. PSA board member David Fox also called the letter untruthful, for invalidating teachers claims of being understaffed and overworked as rumors.

"So y'all are telling us all these teachers coming up here with all these facts and emails we showed y'all are rumors and assumptions," Fox asked the board.

One of those allegations made by staff and parents in the district was that students at the high school have been in the gym instead of being in class because of lack of staff.

New Paradigm president Ralph Bland called the allegation untrue.

"I don't think kids are in the gym coloring in the high school," says Bland.

A parent who says they volunteer in the school building disagreed.

"You lying and the truth ain't in you right now," they said to Bland.

Bland says New Paradigm will be able to get the district back on track once it has more time and resources.

"We're not happy because we can't implement the model that we want to implement to give the students the best quality education that we made the commitment to doing," says Bland.

The meeting closed with some sort of resolution, with each side agreeing to place an interim superintendent and begin the search for a permanent superintendent for the district.

The PSA board now has three weeks to draft a corrective action plan to better improve communication and workflow between the two boards and New Paradigm.

Watch the meeting below:


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