In Light of Consolidation, Muskegon Public Schools Administration Details Plans For 2012-2013 Teacher Hiring

Andrew Trzaska | May 15, 2012

With McLaughlin, Nims and Bluffton elementary schools closing at the end of this school year, Muskegon Public Schools has shared how teachers at those schools as well as teachers at the other elementary schools around the district would be able to apply for the positions available next year.

Retrieved from a memo dated May 1, 2012 from Assistant Superintendent Betty Savage to the teachers and administrators of the district, it appears that no grade from kindergarten through eighth is 100% stable, but upper grades will see less turmoil than the lower grades.

All K-5 teachers at Nims, McLaughlin and Bluffton will be dismissed at the end of the year.

The memo cites district precedent for this decision: “This is in keeping with the process followed relative to the closing of Angell and Phillips Elementary schools.”

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Savage made a correction on the May 1 memo regarding the hiring process for sixth grade teachers. Sixth grade teachers will not, as previously noted, be dismissed en masse and made to reapply for their positions against other displaced elementary teachers who have similar certifications.

“Sixth grade teachers will not automatically displaced but will receive assignments based on their seniority and level of certification,” said Savage.

7-8 grade teachers currently at Bunker will relocate, based on seniority and certification, over to Steele Middle School, which will change its name to Muskegon Middle School at the end of this year.

The memo also states that there will be a job selection meeting on June 19, 2012, where those teachers who are displaced by the district consolidation will have a chance to bid on the reorganized positions.

This meeting was previously set for the daytime, but will be moved to the evening of June 19 to allow for a large number of teachers to attend professional development at the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

Board trustee Lynette Marks attempted to clarify on Tuesday night how those teachers bidding for positions at the job selection meeting might follow the movement of students. For example, McLaughlin students will mostly relocate to Nelson, and Marks asked if consideration was put into pushing McLaughlin teachers to Nelson as well to maintain “friendly face” continuity.

“I believe when it’s all done there might be some familiar faces but not all will move that way,” said district Superintendent Jon Felske. “There are contractual things involved, and sometimes people want a change.”

Schools of Choice Applications Quieter In Muskegon In 2012

Teaching positions are very frequently tied to enrollment, and it’s unclear at this time whether enrollment will increase or decrease this year.

The district may see an increase in enrollment in the coming year, as 53 schools of choice applications have been received at this time.

Superintendent Felske indicated that this number was lower than usual.

Referring to the emergency financial manager-controlled Muskegon Heights Public Schools: “We think people are still waiting to see what happens with our neighboring district.”

Andrew Trzaska

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