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Muskegon Heights School District released from receivership

State offers ‘sense of relief’ to schools facing closure
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 16:12:50-04

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has released the Muskegon Heights School District from receivership under the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act and dissolved its Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB).

The move comes after a recommendation to terminate receivership from the Muskegon Heights School District RTAB.

Effective now, the school district will regain local control without state oversight.

This marks the end of any school district or community under active state oversight.

Back in Dec. 2011, the Muskegon Heights School District’s Board of Education voted to engage an emergency manager to address the district’s fiscal challenges.

Then-Governor Rick Snyder appointed a six-member Financial Review Team in Jan. 2012 to examine the district’s conditions and the team concluded a financial emergency was present in the district and an emergency manager was appointed.

In July of that year, the Muskegon Heights School District entered into a Charter Agreement with the Muskegon Height Public Schools Academy System to operate the district’s K-12 education system. The state says this contract remains until long-term debts are paid off.

After the end of the emergency manager’s term in Oct. 2016, Snyder appointed the RTAB to ensure a smooth transition to local control and continued stability for the school district.

“Today is a new day for the Muskegon Heights School District and the state of Michigan,” Governor Whitmer said. “The efforts of the school district and community to identify problems and bring together the resources to solve complex financial challenges are to be commended. I am proud to say that we no longer have any school district or community under state oversight.”

According to Gov. Whitmer, since the state oversight board was appointed in late 2016, the school district has had accomplishments toward continued fiscal stability, including:

• Ended Fiscal Year 2019-2020 with a general fund balance of $653,744, or 46% of revenues.

• Added to the general fund balance for three consecutive years.

• Current on all required pension and other post-employment benefits.

• Continued compliance with bond and note obligations to date.

Whitmer says the role of the RTAB was to work with local leaders to ensure the school district continued a path toward long-term financial stability, including ensuring the school board adhered to its assigned responsibilities and the school district had a balanced budget. Whitmer says both have been accomplished.

The state says it will continue to support Muskegon Heights schools to ensure a quality K-12 education is provided for its youth.