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Gov. Whitmer addresses issues surrounding Muskegon Heights Schools

"In the immediate, the state of Michigan is watching closely and working with the district."

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — The Muskegon Heights Charter School Board was scheduled to meet yet again Wednesday, amid ongoing controversy surrounding persistent staffing issues and more.  

The state responded to various concerns Wednesday:

“We're concerned about it,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “We're watching it closely.”

Whitmer addressed several of the issues facing Muskegon Heights Schools as part of a mid-week roundtable in Wyoming.

“We knew that a teacher shortage was looming pre pandemic,” Whitmer said. “The pandemic exacerbated that, like it did so many other aspects of our lives. Putting additional resources to keep teachers in the profession, to level the financial barriers to get others to go into teaching are two things that we were able to accomplish. But obviously, that doesn't address a shortage overnight.”

“So, these are things that will be helpful, but in the immediate, the state of Michigan is watching closely and working with the district, then there are additional things that we can do to support them. That's the goal.”

The comments came just over a year after the financially troubled district exited a state-managed receivership.

A late September special joint session called in response to the emerging parental outcry between the district’s public and charter boards went on for more than three hours.

The public board, which authorizes the district’s charter, gave the academy system and Detroit-based charter management firm New Paradigm for Education three weeks to draft what the board referred to as a plan of corrective action.

The plan is expected to address a number of concerns, including the district’s lack of certified teachers.

Muskegon Heights’ website showed student enrollment hovered just under 700 last year.

As 13 ON YOUR SIDE reported in September, under half of the district’s teachers were certified at that time and a number of positions remain unfilled.

The corrective plan also called for the appointment of an interim superintendent and refining the search for a permanent replacement, which the board said would be a national effort.

The request is due no later than Oct.17.


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