Amidst Deficit Elimination Plan, Technology Cuts May End For Now At Muskegon Heights

Andrew Trzaska | April 3, 2011

Monday’s school board meeting actually saw votes on the recall, not elimination of several staff members, including several in the school’s Technology department.

The Board voted to recall several staff members, most hired back on a contract basis.

School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bryant stressed that while the school is beginning to execute a three-year deficit elimination plan to cancel out a record $3.5 million shortfall this year, the technology department needed to keep a certain level of staffing to even function, let alone improve on its work.

“It’s so vital we have certain things in place to move forward.”

Before Monday’s meeting, the technology department’s staffing was down to two people, a number that Bryant indicated could simply not be reduced any more to have the department function.

Board President Avery Burrell echoed Bryant’s statements. He noted that existing staff were overworked and often didn’t have the right technological expertise to move projects forward.

“We’ve cut pretty deep in this district to meet our budget.  We simply cannot continue to give our remaining staff double duty.

Our district used to be at the top [for technology].  We found we are just so strapped, and we cannot continue to fall behind in today’s world,” said Burrell.

Board member Kassandra Kitchen, who missed the initial discussion on the position recalls, was wary of any effects on the district’s budget.

“We’re trying to reduce the deficit but we’re adding to this deficit by recalling positions.”

The district’s deficit elimination plan will include 12 teachers and 8 related positions in the next year alone, with an eventual erasing of 74 positions by the end of year three of the plan’s execution.

No word was available at this time whether the recall of these positions at Monday’s meeting is part of the plan submitted and approved by the state.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst