Muskegon Heights School Board Hopes To Weather State Budget Cuts With Cooperation

Andrew Trzaska | April 11, 2011

At Monday night’s work session, Muskegon Heights Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Bryant gave a progress report on the district’s recent interactions with the Michigan state government.

First off, the district’s alternative education program was audited last week.  Bryant noted that the examiners were pleased with the district’s program, and described those who performed the work as “the most pleasant group of auditors I have ever worked with as a professional.”

In related notes, Dr. Bryant reported that weekly phone conferences with the Michigan Department of Education have reduced to bi-weekly, a move he noted was a sign of things going well within the district.

Bryant also reported on the state legislature’s budget negotiations, including an advance notice of future challenges the district may or may not have to navigate.

Governor Snyder’s proposed cuts to education across the stage will lead to approximately $36 million in cuts for Muskegon County schools.  $2 million of those lost revenues are projected to affect Muskegon Heights Public Schools.

Proposed cuts on the state level appear to be deeper than what was expected at the time that the district’s deficit elimination plan was recently filed.

“As his budget proposals begin to unfold, the deficit elimination plan may have to be rewritten,” said Bryant.

Just how much the district may have to edit their plan, if at all, will depend on the final budget numbers from Lansing.

Since districts across the county and state appear to be in similar situations, board president Avery Burrell spoke positively of collaboration among administrators and other key players in education.

Working with the MAISD, sharing some services and having superintendents and presidents share ideas and best practices in their regular forums were all things that Burrel noted as opportunities for all of the county to weather the state’s cuts.

Andrew Trzaska

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