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Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System hosts special meeting after parent protest

Muskegon Heights Academy

Classes cancelled Tuesday had nothing to do with staffing shortages, says school officials

After classes at Muskegon Heights High School were cancelled Tuesday, the district hosted a special meeting to address parent’s concerns. The special meeting came one day after parents protested on the steps of Muskegon Heights High School Monday night, as officials say, like many districts in West Michigan, staffing shortages are plaguing the school year so far.

Officials said however, that classes were cancelled Tuesday not because of a lack of teachers, but rather in response to several student fights that had broke out.

Parents gathered Tuesday night at the special meeting, once again to voice their concerns, many who said that they felt there was a lack of transparency coming from the school board.

The root of the problem, school officials say, is that Muskegon Heights Academy is led by a public-school board that's elected, however, a full-service management company named New Paradigm Education is really in charge of running the district. That is due to the financial debt that Muskegon Heights Public Schools found itself in several years ago, and it is currently not allowed to govern itself.

Now, parents say, they don’t know who is in charge, or who is pulling the strings…

School Board President Trinell Scott said Tuesday, that the current system is here to stay---for now.

“In order for the district to continue to exist, this district has to continue to operate in the format that we are operating in now,” Scott said. “Unless someone miraculously cancels the debt.”

New Paradigm is a Detroit-based charter school management firm that took over in August and is not based in Muskegon Heights.