Muskegon heights school district http://michiganradio.org en 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&rsquo;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 &quot;fiscal stress.&quot;</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 Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools http://michiganradio.org/post/despite-state-takeover-special-education-problems-linger-muskegon-heights-schools <p>New reports show special education students in Muskegon Heights didn’t get all the services they should have this year. The company that runs the state’s first all-charter public school district is working to correct the problems.</p><p><strong>Problems with charter company’s handling of special ed&nbsp;services</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Federal law and state regulations outline the rules that are supposed to make sure kids with special needs still get a fair education.</span></p><p>Michigan’s Department of Education found more than a dozen ways the new Muskegon Heights charter district violated those rules, affecting a couple hundred special education students.</p><p>“In my opinion this was probably the worst delivery of special education services I’ve seen in my career,” said Norm Kittleson, a former special education teacher at Muskegon Heights. He’s been teaching for 15 years.</p><p>Kittleson started teaching a small class of students with learning disabilities and emotional issues at Muskegon Heights last October. Thu, 23 May 2013 11:30:28 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12700 at http://michiganradio.org Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools Lawsuit next week to challenge Michigan's emergency manager law http://michiganradio.org/post/lawsuit-next-week-challenge-michigans-emergency-manager-law <p>DETROIT (AP) - Leaders of the Detroit branch of the NAACP say they'll file a lawsuit next week challenging Michigan's emergency manager law.<br><br>The law has allowed Gov. Rick Snyder to put managers in Detroit and other struggling cities and school districts. Critics plan to talk Monday outside the federal courthouse in Detroit.<br><br>Other legal challenges have not been successful. An Ingham County judge in April threw out a lawsuit that claimed lawmakers violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved the bill in December.<br> Sat, 11 May 2013 15:55:00 +0000 The Associated Press 12528 at http://michiganradio.org Lawsuit next week to challenge Michigan's emergency manager law After report, Muskegon Heights teachers get Michigan certificates, substitute permits http://michiganradio.org/post/after-report-muskegon-heights-teachers-get-michigan-certificates-substitute-permits <p>Teachers in the new charter school district in Muskegon Heights have now obtained certificates or permits that allow them to legally work in Michigan classrooms.</p><p>This week <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/investigation-uncovers-non-certified-teachers-muskegon-heights-new-charter-school?nopop=1">Michigan Radio reported </a>the state's first all-charter public school district had at least eight teachers who worked, in some case for months, without a valid Michigan teaching certificate or permit. It’s against state law to do that.</p><p>Now, public records show those who were still teaching at Muskegon Heights without proper certificates managed to get them this week. Most obtained teacher certificates. Two others obtained substitute permits.</p><p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 22:24:10 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11250 at http://michiganradio.org After report, Muskegon Heights teachers get Michigan certificates, substitute permits Stateside: Uncertified teachers at Muskegon Heights charter school system http://michiganradio.org/post/stateside-uncertified-teachers-muskegon-heights-charter-school-system <p><em>The following is a </em><em>summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above. </em></p><p>Lester Graham is filling in for Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside.</p><p><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/investigation-uncovers-non-certified-teachers-muskegon-heights-new-charter-school">In her recent report</a>, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith found that teachers in the new charter school system in Muskegon Heights were hired without teacher certification.</p><p>The entire public school system in Muskegon Heights was recently turned over to a private company.</p><p>While there are teachers who do have certification, there are others who do not.</p><p>The question is, what will happen with those teachers that have not been certified?</p><p>We sat down with reporter Lindsey Smith, who joined us from Grand Rapids.</p><p>She told us how it became evident that there were uncertified teachers working in the school system. She also tells us what it was like speaking to the parents in Muskegon Heights and their reactions.</p><p><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/podcasts/8935/rss.xml" target="_blank"> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 23:04:44 +0000 Stateside Staff 11209 at http://michiganradio.org Stateside: Uncertified teachers at Muskegon Heights charter school system Investigation uncovers non-certified teachers at Muskegon Heights new charter school http://michiganradio.org/post/investigation-uncovers-non-certified-teachers-muskegon-heights-new-charter-school <p><strong>Update:</strong> As of February 14th, <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/after-report-muskegon-heights-teachers-get-michigan-certificates-substitute-permits">these teachers have now obtained</a> valid Michigan teaching certificates or permits.</p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 12:35:45 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11193 at http://michiganradio.org Investigation uncovers non-certified teachers at Muskegon Heights new charter school Muskegon Heights has high hopes for 3rd high school principal in 6 months http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-has-high-hopes-3rd-high-school-principal-6-months <p>The new Muskegon Heights charter school district is welcoming yet another principal at its high school. Carla Turner-Laws is the third principal so far this school year. Technically, her title is Interim Head of School/Instructional Specialist.</p><p>A couple dozen people sharing cookies and pink fruit punch welcomed Turner-Laws at a reception Wednesday night. Most were fellow co-workers, friends and family members.</p><p>The MHPS district’s state-appointed emergency manager <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">turned the entire district over to a charter school </a>company last June. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:23:30 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11126 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights has high hopes for 3rd high school principal in 6 months Grading Michigan's first fully privatized public school district http://michiganradio.org/post/3-lessons-michigans-first-fully-privatized-public-school-district <p>Last summer, Muskegon Heights became the first school district in the state to completely privatize its public school system.</p><p>In December 2011, after running a budget deficit for six years in a row, the school board requested the appointment of an emergency manager under the now-defunct Public Act 4.</p><p>Soon after his appointment in April 2012, emergency manager Don Weatherspoon laid off all of the district’s employees, created a new charter district, and appointed a new school board to run it.</p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:00:33 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 10654 at http://michiganradio.org Grading Michigan's first fully privatized public school district Patience please, Muskegon Heights school leaders “building the airplane as we fly it” http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it <p><em>This story is the fourth in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part </em><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today"><font color="#0c4ca2"><em>one here, </em></font></a><em>part</em><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1"><font color="#0c4ca2"><em> two here</em></font></a>, <em>and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun">three here</a>.</em></p><p>Students in Muskegon Heights are <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">going through a lot of changes </a>this year, because the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">entire school district was converted to a charter school system</a>. After tackling some tough issues in the first half of the school year, the operators of the charter school system want the public to give them a full school year to put the changes in place. Mon, 07 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10633 at http://michiganradio.org Patience please, Muskegon Heights school leaders “building the airplane as we fly it” Many Muskegon Heights students dig the charter company’s curriculum: “It’s fun.” http://michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun <p><em>This story is the third in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">one here</a>, part<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1"> two here</a>&nbsp;and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">four here</a>. </em></p><p>The decision to convert the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">Muskegon Heights Public School district into a charter school district </a>was a financial one. But the officials who run the new system hope to improve academics too.</p><p>From the outside, Edgewood Elementary School looks and sounds the same as any other year.</p><p>But this year, Mosaica Education, the charter company that’s running the school, hopes a new curriculum, longer school day and year round classes will improve student success. Fri, 04 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10615 at http://michiganradio.org Many Muskegon Heights students dig the charter company’s curriculum: “It’s fun.” "I couldn't accept that." Why Muskegon Heights teachers quit and how it impacts students http://michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students <p><em>This story is the second in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">part one here</a>, part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun">three here</a>, and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">four here</a>. </em></p><p>At least&nbsp;one in four teachers at the new Muskegon Heights school district have already quit the charter school this year. That’s after an emergency manager laid off all the former public school teachers in Muskegon Heights because he didn’t have enough money to open school in the fall. That means there have been a lot of new, adult faces in the district.</p><p>Students say the high teacher turnover has affected them and top school administrators say it has held back academic achievement this school year. Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10598 at http://michiganradio.org "I couldn't accept that." Why Muskegon Heights teachers quit and how it impacts students