Muskegon Heights may close without emergency manager

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Officials at Muskegon Heights Public Schools told an emergency manager review team the district may have to close as early as April unless they receive an emergency manager, according to MLive. Other options include consolidating with another district, having another district take over administrative functions, or filing for bankruptcy.

MLive reports Dave Sipka, superintendent of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, told the review team the district’s operations were in total disarray under Dana Bryant, Muskegon Heights’ former superintendent.

“Things just weren’t getting done,” Sipka said. “I don’t think anyone knew what the other person was doing. And … everything apparently needed to go through Dr. Bryant.”

According to MLive, Muskegon Heights ran an $8.4 million deficit the previous school year. The district currently owes $1.7 million to MESSA, the union-run administrator from whom the district buys health insurance, and another $1.2 million to MPSERS, the state’s public school employee retirement system.

According to MLive, the MPSERS debt is the most threatening to the district since the MPSERS board could decide to seize all of the district’s April state aid payment and a good portion of its May payment.


MLive, “MAISD: Muskegon Heights schools need emergency manager or district may close,” March 7, 2012


Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Bloated Teacher Contracts Much To Blame For Issues In Highland Park, Muskegon,” March 12, 2012