Muskegon Heights Unofficially Expects Enrollment Drop This School Year, But Not Worst Drop In County

Andrew Trzaska | September 13, 2011

Though numbers are still unofficial, Muskegon Heights Public Schools will lose some students this school year.

At Monday’s board meeting, however, the district’s superintendent and board members noted that other districts in the county were struggling too and appeared optimistic for regaining some of those students.

According to Superintendent Dr. Dana Bryant, the district will likely lose 50 to 60 students.  The official count day is not until October, so those numbers may still fluctuate.

Dr. Bryant also noted that as districts around the county started to solidify their enrollment numbers, Muskegon Heights was not the worst off in the district.

One yet-unnamed district is expecting a loss of 150 students this school year.

“We’re not the only ones that are taking a loss,” said Dr. Bryant.

When explaining reasons for student attrition, Dr. Bryant cited a letter the district was required to send out to city residents by the federal government:

“The scrutiny the federal government has placed on the states right now is enormous.”

Dr. Bryant claimed that one confusing passage led numerous parents to believe they were required to relocate their students to another district.  He stated that in speaking with other districts that had to send similar letters to the public, they had similar issues of confusing wording in their letters.

Dr. Bryant also ventured that clearing up that confusion could bring as many as 20 students back to Muskegon Heights

Board Vice President Ronald Jenkins suggested continued recruitment until the count day to recoup some of the lost students.

Jenkins ventured a strategy for the district in the final moments of Monday’s discussion:

“One of the things we can do… is focus on the quality of our school now.  Focus on the quality now, and then the quantity.”

Andrew Trzaska

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