MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents in the Muskegon Heights school district voiced concerns Thursday night about a shortage of teachers.
The district authorizing board for the school’s charter held a special meeting.
The Muskegon Heights Public School Academy has two boards. The elected board has oversight of the Public School Academy System Board, which handles review of day-to-day operations. The elected board appoints the members to the second board.
Aundria White has two kids in high school and says she is concerned about a shortage of teachers and other school staff members filling their places as regular substitutes.
“When I came up to the school it was actually a security guard actually in their classroom,” White said. “They are in the eleventh grade. They are juniors so at this point academics is very, very important to both of them.”
Trinell Scott, the president of the elected board, says they have approved a letter that will be made public and provided to the other board. The board went almost immediately into closed session to discuss responding to concerns with the attorney for the district.
“We have more recourse than just pulling the charter, because essentially if we pull the charter what happens is the school would close, and that’s not what we want to happen so there’s other avenues and that’s why we went into closed session to talk about next steps,” Scott said.
Scott says changes made during the pandemic to help with the teacher shortage allow for more school officials to substitute teach.
“If you are an employee of a district already you can go into the classroom and substitute teach so that’s not out of the norm but we are truly concerned about the questions that parents have raised about who’s in the classroom and how much staff do we have,” Scott said.
The district acknowledged in a statement that it does have a teacher shortage but says it is able to meet the need in other ways as it works to address the issue.
The elected board says it is looking into the concerns.
“The one thing that we want the people to understand is that we are in the business of educating children and that is our number one priority,” Scott said.
Parents like White say something needs to change soon.
“We have been sitting in closed meetings. We waited an hour, two hours for them to come out and not have any answers for us so at this point, we praying. The city is praying that we can get some answers,” White said.
A meeting with both boards is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday night. It will be held inside the Board of Education building at 2603 Leahy Street in Muskegon Heights.