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Muskegon Heights to transfer to charter schools | Education

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Muskegon Heights to transfer to charter schools

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WZZM)- The entire 1,400 student Muskegon Heights Public School system would revert to a charter school under a plan proposed Friday by the district's Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon.

Weatherspoon told reporters he estimated three school buildings would operate under the charter system as "excess inventory" is sold off.

All district employees would have to reapply for their jobs.   All 158 of them recently received layoff notices. 

The union representing workers late Friday afternoon issued a statement that read, in part: "We're still assessing the plan, but we're not totally convinced this is the best way to ease the burden on staff and students that the escalating debt has created."

Weatherspoon said he can assure parents "they will have a neighborhood school" in the fall.  

Weatherspoon said the charter school would be governed by a three person board he would appoint. "I have the utmost confidence it is the best alternative," he said.

A community meeting on the plan is set for next Wednesday, May 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school.

Weatherspoon and Treasury Department spokesman Terry Stanton said the charter proposal is a better one than other options that faced the district.

"Annex, transfer, consolidate or dissolve the district - none of those were viable, mainly because of the ($12.5 million) debt and also because it would require a vote of the people," Stanton said.

WZZM 13's Peter Ross spoke with longtime Heights resident Linda Steward, a cheerleader for the Tigers in the 70's.  "It's gonna come back - it's gotta come back I believe it will be stronger I know it will be stronger" she said.

The district posted more information on it's website: http://www.mhpsnet.org/EM.htm

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