Moon Elementary School to close next year as district faces declining enrollment; students will attend Nelson or Oakview

Moon Elementary School

Muskegon Public Schools will permanently shutter Moon Elementary next school year in an effort to “right-size” a district facing declining enrollment, education officials announced Wednesday.

Students who would have gone to Moon for the 2019-2020 school year will now attend Nelson Elementary School or Oakview Elementary School, with the majority attending Nelson, according to a district press release. All of Moon’s current teachers will move to Nelson Elementary, and Moon Principal Okeelah McBride will be an administrator at Muskegon Middle School, the press release said.

The decision to close the school, which is located at 1826 Hoyt St., follows a recommendation from educators and other community leaders who sat on the district’s bond steering committee. The committee was tasked with creating a proposal for the $77 million schools bond that the public is slated to vote on in 2020.  Last year, school officials had proposed Moon’s closure, but did not go through with it following a public outcry.

The closure is part of the district’s effort to address decreasing enrollment trends. The number of K-12 students in the Muskegon Public Schools has significantly dropped over the past 25 years, going from 7,135 students in 1995 to 5,300 students in 2008 and 3,611 pupils in 2018.

“We know this news may be sad for our Moon community,” Muskegon Public Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings said in a press release. “This right-sizing decision to close the campus came as a recommendation from our bond steering committee and was discussed during our recent town hall meetings. Moon Elementary School is our smallest elementary building and the capacity of Nelson Elementary will be better utilized with the addition of these students.”

Next year, school bus transportation will be provided for the Moon students to and from Moon Elementary to Nelson Elementary or Oakview Elementary each day. Students who want to attend a different elementary school may apply to MPS Student Services for an in-district transfer, but school bus transportation will not be provided to other elementary campuses.

The district emphasized in its press release that Nelson Elementary School “continues to make academic gains and is supported by a school improvement grant that has contributed to recent strides in academic achievement.”

Nelson’s principal Dr. Brian Gamm is looking forward to welcoming Moon’s teachers and students in September,” the press release said.

Moon’s closure follows other school shutterings, including Bluffton Elementary School in 2012, Craig Elementary School in 2012, the Froebel School in 2003, McLaughlin Elementary in 2012, and Nims Elementary School in 2012.

Parents or community members with questions about the closing of Moon Elementary School are encouraged to contact Superintendent Justin Jennings via email at jjenning@mpsk12.net or by phone at 231-720-2004.

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