Muskegon heights school district http://michiganradio.org en The struggles of Muskegon Heights school district http://michiganradio.org/post/struggles-muskegon-heights-school-district <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Two years ago, Muskegon Heights made history by becoming the first school district in Michigan to convert entirely to a charter district, and turn the operation of its schools over to a for-profit company.&nbsp;</span></p><p></p><p>This week, Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer and Lindsey Smith take an in depth look at the changes in the Muskegon Heights School district and what that could that mean for other troubled districts in the state in a new <a href="http://michiganradio.org/programs/stateside-cynthia-canty">State of Opportunity</a> documentary called <em>Tiger Pride</em>.</p><p>Why focus on Muskegon Heights? How does it impact other struggling school districts in Michigan?</p><p>Dwyer and Smith joined us today to give us a preview of the documentary.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Tune in tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm to hear <em>Tiger Pride</em>.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:19:06 +0000 Jennifer White 18494 at http://michiganradio.org The struggles of Muskegon Heights school district Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-has-lots-do-charter-company-departs <p>Mosaica Education, the charter company running Muskegon Heights schools, only has a few days left in its contract. But the district still has lots to do to get everything in place for the fall.</p><p>Last night the district hired its superintendent at a special board meeting. But it still has to finalize agreements with a staffing agency to hire all of its teachers and few other vendors by Monday.</p><p>This summer it has to finish building repairs, and rearrange all the grade levels because an elementary school building will close.</p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:27:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18155 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs Emergency manager says new arrangement at Muskegon Heights schools will be more economical http://michiganradio.org/post/emergency-manager-says-new-arrangement-muskegon-heights-schools-will-be-more-economical <p>Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager thinks a new setup to run the district next year will be more economical than hiring another charter company.</p><p>For the last two years, a<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company"> for-profit company ran Muskegon Heights schools.</a> But it ran into <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million">cash flow problems. </a>The state had to give the district<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-system-continues-its-struggle-meet-payroll-asks-state-more-money"> two cash advances this spring</a> to pay staff and <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-running-out-money-lend-schools-financial-distress">give it an emergency loan to keep schools open </a>through the end of the school year. &nbsp;</p><p>“We are in a survival mode,” Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager Gregory Weatherspoon said at a press conference Tuesday. “We will go for whatever will work and save us money and this was a cost savings to us,” he said. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:28:38 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18046 at http://michiganradio.org Emergency manager says new arrangement at Muskegon Heights schools will be more economical Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-rejects-profit-charter-bids-favor-some-local-control <p><strong>Updated: <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/emergency-manager-says-new-arrangement-muskegon-heights-schools-will-be-more-economical">Emergency manager says new arrangement will be more economical than charter school company</a></strong></p><p>Muskegon Heights schools will not hire another for-profit charter company to run the district. Instead, the district plans to hire its own superintendent, a staffing company and the intermediate school district in Muskegon County to run schools for the next three years.</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 12:03:19 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18030 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control State leaders question oversight role when charter companies run entire school districts http://michiganradio.org/post/state-leaders-question-oversight-role-when-charter-companies-run-entire-school-districts <p>State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the consequences of turning&nbsp;entire school districts over to for-profit charter school companies deserves more consideration from state lawmakers.</p><p>Flanagan told a state panel last week it’s not clear if the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/muskegon-heights-school-district">Muskegon Heights school district</a>, or the for-profit charter company that ran it the last two years, will face any consequences for running up a deficit big enough to require an emergency loan worth $1.4 million and two cash advances to keep schools open through June. It’s unclear exactly what the deficit is for the 2013-2014 school year.</p><p>The Muskegon Heights school district is now looking for a new operator. That’s after the district and its emergency manager <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company">agreed to end its contract with Mosaica Education Inc.</a> when the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million">company couldn’t turn a profit.</a></p><p>“Now that (Mosaica) is leaving, they pretty much told us they’re not going to do (the district’s) deficit elimination plan. To follow up on that, we should wait for the new management company and deal with them,” Dan Hanrahan, Michigan Department of Education’s director of state aid and school finance, told the panel. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 14:34:45 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17910 at http://michiganradio.org State leaders question oversight role when charter companies run entire school districts Activists don't want another private charter school company running Muskegon Heights http://michiganradio.org/post/activists-dont-want-another-private-charter-school-company-running-muskegon-heights <p>If you've got a charter school management company and you'd like to run the chaotic, broke school district of Muskegon Heights, today is your last day to submit a bid. &nbsp;</p><p>That's because the school system's emergency manager recently announced a mutual split with their previous contractor, a company called Mosaica Education.</p><p>Mosaica was losing money.</p><p>And it was getting a lot of flack for hiring teachers without proper certification (which earned the district state fines) and not delivering all the required special education services.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 23 May 2014 21:28:18 +0000 Kate Wells 17741 at http://michiganradio.org Activists don't want another private charter school company running Muskegon Heights Michigan is running out of money to lend to schools in financial distress http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-running-out-money-lend-schools-financial-distress <p><a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(aj5hpaqgiq3t3d45opcngajw))/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-243-of-1980.pdf">State law gives a special board up to $50 million</a> to loan to schools in financial distress. The long-term, low-interest loans are supposed to help school districts restructure and pay down their debt.</p><p>But it appears $50 million isn’t going to be enough.</p><p>With the loans the Emergency Loan Board issued Monday, it's nearly reached that cap, four years ahead of schedule. Treasury Spokesman Terry Stanton says the board has issued $48.5 million to schools so far.</p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 22:17:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17388 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan is running out of money to lend to schools in financial distress Muskegon Heights ends contract with charter school company http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company <p><strong>Updated 5:10 p.m.</strong></p><p>Mosaica Education and Muskegon Heights Public School Academy have come to a mutual agreement to end their working relationship.</p><p>“This was a difficult decision for us and our board,” Mosaica Chief Executive Officer Michael Connelly said in a written statement.</p><p>“We are very proud of the academic turnaround we were able to achieve under the leadership of Alena Zachery-Ross, our regional vice president and the superintendent for the system,” he said.</p> Sat, 26 Apr 2014 16:04:41 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17371 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights ends contract with charter school company Muskegon Heights charter board president: Schools will stay open, “That’s a promise.” http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-charter-board-president-schools-will-stay-open-s-promise <p>Muskegon Heights' charter school board acknowledged at a meeting Monday night it doesn’t know how it’ll fund operations for the rest of this school year. But it is reassuring the community it’ll figure something out by next week at the latest.</p><p>“As soon as we have something I will share it with you. That’s a promise,” Muskegon Heights Academy’s school board president Arthur Scott said.</p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:22:33 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17307 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights charter board president: Schools will stay open, “That’s a promise.” Charter school CEO says Muskegon Heights schools owes company $2 million http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million <p>The Muskegon Heights charter school district owes the company that’s operating its schools a little more than $2 million. That’s according to Mosaica Education’s CEO.&nbsp;</p><p>The new charter district was created in Muskegon Heights when severe cash problems prompted a state takeover of the traditional school district by an emergency manager in 2012. Now the charter district is having cash flow problems of its own.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:03:07 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17291 at http://michiganradio.org Charter school CEO says Muskegon Heights schools owes company $2 million The week in review http://michiganradio.org/post/week-review-31 <p> This <em>Week in Review</em>, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-bondholders-will-be-paid-74-cents-dollar-working-women-can-relate">the latest with the Detroit bankruptcy</a>, the continuing <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/gm-puts-two-engineers-paid-leave-wake-ignition-switch-problem">controversies over the General Motors recall</a>, and the money problems involving the charter school system running <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-system-continues-its-struggle-meet-payroll-asks-state-more-money">Muskegon Heights schools</a>.</p><p> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 12:57:00 +0000 Jack Lessenberry & Rina Miller 17206 at http://michiganradio.org The week in review Muskegon Heights school system continues its struggle to meet payroll, asks state for more money http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-system-continues-its-struggle-meet-payroll-asks-state-more-money <p>Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System is asking the state to front $191,000 to cover paychecks that are set to go out this Tuesday.</p><p>It’s the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/officials-confident-muskegon-heights-schools-will-meet-payroll-no-solution-yet">second time this month</a> the district has asked for an advance.</p><p>The advance would come out of the district’s state aid payment April 20. Earlier this month the state advanced $231,000.</p><p>State treasury officials say the district typically gets roughly $455,000 a month after debt obligations.</p><p>School board officials have previously declined requests for comment from Michigan Radio. Reports out today say board members also declined to comment to reporters at the special board meeting today, which lasted approximately five minutes.</p><p>Charter company Mosaica Education is running the district. The company’s CEO has not returned repeated requests for comment this week.</p><p>Mosaica’s Regional VP of Operations Alena Zachery-Ross says advancements for struggling school districts aren’t completely uncommon. She says the district is working on a plan to meet payroll for the rest of the year but couldn’t comment on the details of those negotiations.</p><p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:29:35 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17194 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights school system continues its struggle to meet payroll, asks state for more money Officials confident Muskegon Heights schools will meet payroll, but no solution yet http://michiganradio.org/post/officials-confident-muskegon-heights-schools-will-meet-payroll-no-solution-yet <p>State officials and the Muskegon Heights School&nbsp;Board are trying to figure out how they’ll be able to pay staff for the rest of this school year, although the district’s emergency manager is “confident” they’ll work something out.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17118 at http://michiganradio.org Officials confident Muskegon Heights schools will meet payroll, but no solution yet State fronts Muskegon Heights schools cash so district can pay teachers, staff http://michiganradio.org/post/state-fronts-muskegon-heights-schools-cash-so-district-can-pay-teachers-staff <p><strong>Updated 4/2/14: </strong></p><p>An attorney for the MHPSA board says all employees have been paid as of today. He said there was a "glitch" in payroll but declined further comment on this story at this time.</p><p><strong>Original post 4/1/14:</strong></p><p>The state is fronting $231,000 to the charter school district in Muskegon Heights so it can pay its employees. Teachers and staff didn’t get paid like they were supposed to on Monday.</p><p>The new Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System was set up in June 2012 when the old school district there went broke.</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:45:47 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17067 at http://michiganradio.org State fronts Muskegon Heights schools cash so district can pay teachers, staff New state consultant to work with struggling Pontiac Schools http://michiganradio.org/post/new-state-consultant-work-struggling-pontiac-schools <p>The former emergency manager of two Michigan school districts is<a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131015/SCHOOLS/310150104/Pontiac-school-board-OKs-consultant-consent-agreement?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p"> moving onto help Pontiac schools</a>.</p><p>Donald Weatherspoon was the emergency manager of the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights schools.</p><p>Now, he’s a consent agreement consultant for the Pontiac schools. The Pontiac school board chose to enter a consent agreement after a state review found the district was in "fiscal stress."</p> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 03:27:48 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 14852 at http://michiganradio.org New state consultant to work with struggling Pontiac Schools Students making gains under first-of-a-kind charter; school leaders set bigger goals http://michiganradio.org/post/students-making-gains-under-first-kind-charter-school-leaders-set-bigger-goals <p>On average, students under the state’s first fully privatized public school district are learning at a faster rate than under the old system. That’s according to data released Monday night by the charter company running the Muskegon Heights district.</p><p>Muskegon Heights schools’ <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/check-out-details-michigan-s-first-privatized-public-school-system">emergency manager set up the charter system </a>in the summer of 2012, when the existing district couldn’t afford to open. Highland Park Public Schools is under a similar arrangement.</p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:35:39 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14557 at http://michiganradio.org Students making gains under first-of-a-kind charter; school leaders set bigger goals Buena Vista schools update: Layoffs and how the Voting Rights Act impacts dissolution http://michiganradio.org/post/buena-vista-schools-update-layoffs-and-how-voting-rights-act-impacts-dissolution <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last night, Buena Vista School District held meetings to discuss two important issues.</span></p><p>Overall, while the board made decisions for the 2013-2014 school year assuming the school district would open this coming fall, the future of the district depends on whether or not higher ups decide to dissolve the struggling school system.</p><p>First, the board made decisions on the school district’s budget and layoffs.</p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:18:30 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13254 at http://michiganradio.org Buena Vista schools update: Layoffs and how the Voting Rights Act impacts dissolution Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager: 1 year to local control, 28 to pay off debt http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-emergency-manager-1-year-local-control-28-pay-debt <p>With a little luck and another loan from the state, Muskegon Heights Public Schools’ Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon is predicting the district will pay of its debt the year 2041.</p><p>Don Weatherspoon told a small crowd gathered in the high school auditorium Monday night he hopes to hand local control back to the district’s elected school board in one year.</p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 02:47:53 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13224 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager: 1 year to local control, 28 to pay off debt Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager to update community tonight http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-emergency-manager-update-community-tonight <p>Muskegon Heights Public&nbsp; Schools had <a href="http://web1mdcs.state.mi.us/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&amp;fn=default.htm&amp;vid=mofa:fa">nearly a $12 million deficit </a>at the end of last school year. That's when the district’s newly appointed Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon said the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">district couldn't afford to open school in the fall.</a> He laid off most all the staff and hired charter school company Mosaica Education to run the schools for five years.</p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:12:17 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13192 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager to update community tonight State fines Muskegon Heights schools for hiring teachers without proper certification http://michiganradio.org/post/state-fines-muskegon-heights-schools-hiring-teachers-without-proper-certification-0 <p>The Muskegon Heights school system has been fined nearly $100,000 by the Michigan Department of Education. The department launched the investigation after Michigan Radio reported the new Muskegon Heights charter school district had about 10% of teachers working without a valid teaching certificate or permit. It’s against state law to do that.</p> Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:21:30 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12938 at http://michiganradio.org