Muskegon school board tables proposed school closures

MUSKEGON, Mich. – More than a hundred people showed up for Tuesday night’s Muskegon Public Schools board meeting. Many of them are upset with proposed closings of schools in the district.

The meeting started off with an announcement by the school board saying the proposal of closing some schools is off the agenda and will not happen.

Superintendent Justin Jennings addressed the source of the district's funding.“Butts in the seats equals dollars. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear that being said, what it does for us, but that's how as a school how you get your revenue. So we have to look at ways to make those cuts. As far as everything else, the buildings are definitely not going to be closed, but like I said, we are going to look at still cutting some administrators and possibly some teachers. That’s what we’ll have to do in order to balance that budget.”

The large crowd erupted with cheers after hearing that the school board will table the proposed school closings.

“I understand that the vote has been postponed and things have been tabled, but in my humble opinion a Muskegon Public Schools family needs more time -- a lot more time -- to make big decisions like this,” said one man speaking to the board.

During the two hour public comment period, many in the crowd indicated they were upset they were left in the dark about the possible closures until just recently.

There was a special school board meeting Monday night that Superintendent Justin Jennings and four of the seven school board members did not attend.

Board members have been considering proposals to make budget cuts that required closing some schools, including Muskegon Middle School, the Muskegon Community Education Center, and Moon and Oakview elementary schools.

The school board hasn’t said what budget cuts will need to be made moving forward but that the closings of schools is off the table.

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