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Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy System's woes continue as district in the red by over $30 million

Muskegon Heights Academy

School board has until Monday to come up with a plan to fix issues

Facing over $30 million in debt and a severe staffing shortage, Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy System has hired a consultant to help navigate next steps.

Last week, Muskegon Heights public school academy board brought on consultant Dr. Don Witherspoon for guidance, as a lack of qualified teachers continues to plague the district so far this year, while the board has yet to find a new superintendent.

Currently, the district is roughly $35 million in debt, and the elected school board is not allowed to govern the district on its own—that responsibility has been recently outsourced to New Paradigm for Education, an appointed academy board that operates out of Detroit.

Several parents so far this year have protested that the current system is failing students, questioning how a school board can effectively run the district from the east side of the state.

Michigan State Representative Terry Sabo of Muskegon weighs in.

“Those kids in Muskegon Heights, they deserve a quality education just like any other kid,” Sabo said. “And that is why I contacted the Governor’s office and the Department of Education to make sure they are aware of what is happening, because what really matters is those kids.”

Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that her office was “watching the situation closely” and working with the district to find solutions.

Meanwhile, the school board has given itself until October 17th to come up with a corrective action plan to correct staffing shortages and begin searching for a superintendent.

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