Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education unanimously votes to keep Moon Elementary School open

Moon Elementary School

Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education members unanimously voted Thursday night to keep Moon Elementary School open next year, a decision that overturns the district’s announcement earlier this month that it would permanently shutter the educational institution.

Board members said in a May 31 letter that the decision was rooted in the district’s ability to provide funding for the school, and to allow the new schools superintendent to be a part of the conversation regarding school closures. The outgoing superintendent, Justin Jennings, will leave the district June 1, and the board is currently searching for his replacement.

The board met Thursday night for a special meeting to “revisit the decision to close Moon School,” its members wrote in a May 31 letter.

“The decision to close this building was based on financial reasons,” the letter states. “However, we have an adequate budget to support Moon School, and believe a big decision like this must include our new superintendent and our joint vision for the future.”

To see the entire letter the board sent to parents and staff, please click here.

“Moon students will enjoy the stability of their current school building while the district-wide master plan is drafted and finalized,” the board members wrote. “We look forward to working with our new superintendent to build a solid plan that will provide ideal learning spaces for our students and make our schools stronger.”

Thursday’s vote too follows a call from a group of Muskegon business leaders, who in a May 21 letter urged the board to “table major decisions such as hiring any new key central office staff, school closings, and bond proposals until the new executive is on board and has an opportunity to engage with the board, teachers and community with regard to these decisions.”

To see the full May 21 letter, please click here.

On May 1, the district announced it planned to close Moon Elementary next school year in an effort to “right-size” a district facing declining enrollment. According to the previous plan, students who would have gone to Moon for the 2019-2020 school year would have attended Nelson Elementary School or Oakview Elementary School.

Discussions to close Moon Elementary had occurred during meetings of the district’s bond steering committee. The committee, made up of community leaders and education officials, 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.

Story by Anna Gustafson, the publisher and editor of Muskegon Times. You can connect with Anna by emailing MuskegonTimes@gmail.com or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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