Michigan says 38 schools are subject to potential closure; Kalamazoo and Muskegon Hts. on list

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jan 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 22:29:15-05

LANSING, Mich. — For the first time, the state of Michigan is planning to close public schools for academic reasons.

The Michigan School Reform Office said Friday 38 schools are failing and subject to closure. Some schools may not close if state officials decide it would pose an unreasonable hardship for students because no better options are available.

More than half of the 38 schools are in Detroit. The others are in Benton Harbor, Bridgeport, East Detroit, Kalamazoo, Pontiac, River Rouge and Saginaw.

The Kalamazoo schools listed are Washington Writers' Academy and the Woodward School for Technology and Research.  In Muskegon Heights, the Muskegon Heights Academy is on the list.

Click here for the complete list

Christopher Thomas, a parent from Muskegon Heights High School, has two sons in the high school right now who are flourishing. He said he has seen the improvements the school has made, and said the list is not accurate in growth.

"I think they are doing a good job. I just think the state is not giving them enough time, and definitely not giving them enough resources because the bottom line is you can't do anything if you don't have the money to do what needs to be done," said Thomas.

The law allows for state-ordered school closures if chronically under-performing schools have not improved despite receiving other forms of intervention.

The closure option had gone unused.

Superintendent of Muskegon Schools Alena Zachery Ross sent out a statement on Friday that outlines how much improvement they have made, and they are waiting to show that to the state.   She added that the release of the list of schools is a distraction to the bigger goal: focusing on education.

Also Friday, 79 "priority" schools were freed from state intervention — the first time more schools were released than were flagged for intervention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report