Don Weatherspoon http://michiganradio.org en 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 Books at Highland Park high school get tossed out - How could they have done it differently? http://michiganradio.org/post/books-highland-park-high-school-get-tossed-out-how-could-they-have-done-it-differently <p>There has been public outrage ever since a collection of African-American history materials were found in a dumpster outside Highland Park's high school.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aclumich.org/issues/education/2013-06/1848" style="line-height: 1.5;">The ACLU of Michigan was one of the first to report the incident.</a></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:20:16 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13487 at http://michiganradio.org Books at Highland Park high school get tossed out - How could they have done it differently? Outrage after Highland Park high school's library material gets dumped in the trash http://michiganradio.org/post/outrage-after-highland-park-high-schools-library-material-gets-dumped-trash <p>There has been a firestorm of protest in Highland Park after the discovery that a large collection of history books, film and tapes from the city's high school was tossed in the trash.</p><p>Some 50 protestors gathered outside the high school in Highland Park, a member of the school board quit, and several people climbed into dumpsters to retrieve what they could.</p><p>The protests focused not only on the discarded books but on the way Highland Park's emergency manager Donald Weatherspoon is running the district.</p><p>One of those people who searched through the dumpsters to retrieve as many books as possible is Paul Lee. He is a Highland Park resident and an historian who helped build the collection of black history books, videos and movies.</p><p>Here is a video he shot while looking through the dumpster:</p><p><a href="http://youtu.be/cjjQdOkyVwk" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 11px; cursor: pointer; color: rgb(39, 147, 230); font-family: arial, sans-serif; line-height: 11px;" target="_blank">http://youtu.be/cjjQdOkyVwk</a></p><p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 21:58:35 +0000 Stateside Staff 13445 at http://michiganradio.org Outrage after Highland Park high school's library material gets dumped in the trash 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 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” Muskegon Heights students hope for less "chaos" as they return to class today http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today <p>Muskegon Heights students are heading back to class today to begin the second half of what’s been a very turbulent school year.</p><p><em>This story is the first 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/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1">part two here</a>,&nbsp;part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun?nopop=1">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>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today"><font color="#0c4ca2">&nbsp;</font></a></em></p><p><strong>Old district “implodes” after years-long financial problems</strong></p><p>The school board in Muskegon Heights battled a budget deficit for at least six years in a row. They gave up the fight a year ago and asked the state to just take over.&nbsp;</p><p>“The system that was in place imploded,” said Don Weatherspoon, the guy the state eventually sent in late April to be the emergency manager.</p><p><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;'>"Enrollment went down, costs went up, they borrowed more than they could pay back; you’re on a collision course with disaster and that’s what happened," Weatherspoon explained. Student enrollment is a big factor in how much money a school district receives from the state. </span></p><p>“Everything that you can think of basically broke down. Discipline, learning, record-keeping, financial accounting, etc,” Weatherspoon said.</p><p>By May, Weatherspoon discovered the district is more than $16 million dollars in debt; so much debt it couldn’t afford to open school in the fall. Wed, 02 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10577 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights students hope for less "chaos" as they return to class today Allen Park gets emergency financial manager; prompts EFM shuffle in other communities http://michiganradio.org/post/allen-park-gets-emergency-financial-manager-prompts-efm-shuffle-other-communities <p>The <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/allen-park">City of Allen Park</a> is the latest to get a state appointed emergency financial manager. The move affects who’s in charge in some other communities who already have emergency managers.</p> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 23:45:50 +0000 Lindsey Smith 9634 at http://michiganradio.org Allen Park gets emergency financial manager; prompts EFM shuffle in other communities Muskegon Heights will vote on renewing millage for privatized public schools http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-will-vote-renewing-millage-privatized-public-schools <p>The emergency financial manager of Muskegon Heights Public Schools is asking voters to renew an operating millage for the next 16 years.</p><p>“The outcome of this millage will change the future of Muskegon Heights forever,” <a href="http://www.mhpsnet.org/documents/EM/MillageLetter%20to%20Parents.pdf">says a letter </a>the school district’s emergency financial manager Don Weatherspoon sent home to parents this week.</p><p>Weatherspoon privatized the school district so he could focus on paying off its $16 million debt. That debt is mostly owed to the State of Michigan.</p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 23:53:47 +0000 Lindsey Smith 9463 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights will vote on renewing millage for privatized public schools Check out the details of Michigan’s first privatized public school system http://michiganradio.org/post/check-out-details-michigan-s-first-privatized-public-school-system <p>Parents in the Muskegon Heights Public School district are just starting to get an idea of what to expect for their children this fall.</p><p>The district is having major financial problems and is under the control of a state appointed emergency manager, Donald Weatherspoon.</p><p>Weatherspoon said turning over the entire district to a charter school operator was his only option to keep school open this year.</p><p>Last week, the three-member school board (appointed by the Weatherspoon) hired Mosaica Education Inc. to operate the schools in Muskegon Heights.</p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 19:07:56 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8310 at http://michiganradio.org Check out the details of Michigan’s first privatized public school system Muskegon Heights charter school budget assumes more students and state money http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-charter-school-budget-assumes-more-students-and-state-money <p>The school board for the new charter school system in Muskegon Heights will likely adopt a preliminary budget Monday. &nbsp;</p><p>Muskegon Heights schools&rsquo; <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">emergency manager hired a for-profit charter school company </a>to run the public school system for the next five years.</p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 20:28:19 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8278 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights charter school budget assumes more students and state money Private, for-profit charter company to run Muskegon Heights schools http://michiganradio.org/post/private-profit-charter-company-run-muskegon-heights-schools <p>The emergency manager of the Muskegon Heights Public School district has signed a contract with a private company to run the district next year.</p><p>Mosaica Education is a for-profit charter operator that already runs <a href="http://mosaicaeducation.com/locations/united-states/michigan/">six other charter schools in Michigan.</a></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 21:38:10 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8199 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights emergency manager signs charter school contract – will reveal Monday http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-emergency-manager-signs-charter-school-contract-will-reveal-monday <p>The emergency manager of Muskegon Heights Public Schools says he&rsquo;s signed a contract with a charter operator that will practically run the whole school district next school year.</p><p>In a press release sent out this afternoon, Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon says he&rsquo;ll review the signed contract during a public meeting on Monday. The statement doesn&rsquo;t say which charter school company got the deal. Weatherspoon was not available to discuss the release.</p> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 19:57:07 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8176 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights emergency manager signs charter school contract – will reveal Monday Plans to have charter operator run Muskegon Heights schools going slower than expected http://michiganradio.org/post/plans-have-charter-operator-run-muskegon-heights-schools-going-slower-expected <p>Students in Muskegon Heights Public Schools are still in limbo while the district&#39;s state-appointed emergency manager decides what charter school company will manage the system.</p><p>MHPS Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon told parents in May he planned to turn the entire system over to a charter operator this fall. He also said he wanted to have a contract signed June 13.</p><p>There&rsquo;s still no contract in place. That means parents don&rsquo;t know yet if their kids will get bussed to class, if the district will offer athletics, AP classes, or band next school year.</p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 21:48:02 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8162 at http://michiganradio.org Plans to have charter operator run Muskegon Heights schools going slower than expected Muskegon Heights charter takeover a 'state bailout,' new report says http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-charter-takeover-state-bailout-new-report-says <p>Muskegon Heights Public Schools <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-3rd-district-emergency-manager">voted late last year to request a state emergency manager</a> in an effort to sort out chronically troubled finances. Part of the plan emergency manager Don Weatherspoon eventually came up with involved turning schools in the district over to a charter operator.</p><p>But as <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20120627/NEWS06/206270371/Turnaround-plan-for-Muskegon-Heights-schools-amounts-to-a-bailout-group-says?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s">the Detroit Free Press reports today</a>, a study from a non-profit research group says the turnover amounts to little more than a state bailout. Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:10:20 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 8047 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights charter takeover a 'state bailout,' new report says Teachers' union, emergency manager at Muskegon Heights schools settle lawsuit http://michiganradio.org/post/teachers-union-emergency-manager-muskegon-heights-schools-settle-lawsuit <p>The teachers&rsquo; union at Muskegon Heights Public Schools has settled a lawsuit against the district. The union had alleged the district&rsquo;s emergency manager was engaged in unfair labor practices.</p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 23:32:09 +0000 Lindsey Smith 7812 at http://michiganradio.org Teachers' union, emergency manager at Muskegon Heights schools settle lawsuit No football? No band? Muskegon Heights parents get few details about charter school plan http://michiganradio.org/post/no-football-no-band-muskegon-heights-parents-get-few-details-about-charter-school-plan <p><span style="color: rgb(59, 59, 59); font-family: &quot;Georgia&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; font-size: 10.5pt;">Muskegon Heights Public Schools Emergency Manager Don <span class="scayt-misspell">Weatherspoon</span> heard from parents, alumni, teachers, and taxpayers during and after the meeting. He reassured parents a free neighborhood school will be open this fall.<o:p></o:p></span></p> Thu, 31 May 2012 04:46:28 +0000 Lindsey Smith 7686 at http://michiganradio.org No football? No band? Muskegon Heights parents get few details about charter school plan