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Muskegon Heights Public School Board, Academy System react to removal of state oversight committee

There will be a town hall meeting at the Board of Education Building Tuesday night at 6 p.m. for community members to learn more about the decision and its impact.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Heading into the new school year next month, there's a change at the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved the removal of a state oversight committee there. The Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) was put in place in 2016 after an emergency manager found the district was $12 million in debt in 2012. 

That's when the Public School Academy System came in, to run day-to-day operations while the Public School Board focused on paying off debts. 

Now, nearly 10 years after the state's intervention, Public School Board President Trinell Scott says she's excited about the move.

"It's a new day in Muskegon Heights," she says. "This allows us as elected officials to make sure our school district is being ran properly as the true authorizers of this district."

The dissolve of the RTAB is something that has outgoing Public School Academy System Superintendent Rane Garcia worried. She says she's concerned about the district's future without the state to mediate between the Public School Board and Academy System.

"Why break something that is working?" she says. "There are a lot of holes in the contract if the RTAB isn't there, and without that support of having some resolution, it leaves the leadership in question."

The Public School Board and Academy System will still work together to continue the progress made in teacher retention, enrollment and parent engagement. The next steps for the two entities include filling the empty seats on the Public School Academy System Board.

Scott says they can prove their success can continue without the state's involvement. 

"This board is dedicated to making sure this district works and this board is dedicated to making sure our kids achieve academically," she says.

There will be a town hall meeting at the Board of Education Building Tuesday night at 6 p.m. for community members and parents to find out how the governor's decision will impact this community's students.

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