In April, media reports about layoffs in Muskegon Public Schools predicted “unprecedented budget cuts.” The district gave all of its 800-plus employees layoff notices, but reported that the “vast majority” would retain their jobs. The district was keeping its options open and complying with a requirement that unionized employees must be given advanced notice if their job is in jeopardy.
Betty Savage, the district’s acting superintendent at the time, said, “I would never have thought I'd be laying off people who had 20-plus years, and in a couple cases, teachers with 30-plus years.”
In the end, Muskegon ended up laying off 4.5 teaching positions. The district laid off 30.2 full-time equivalent teaching positions at the end of 2010-11 and then called back 25.7 FTEs.
Overall, due to retirements and other attrition, the district had 321 teachers in 2010-11 and has 299 this year. Muskegon Superintendent Jon Felske also said the district will have 93 fewer students than last year.
Felske said the district didn’t have to lay off nearly as many employees as first thought because anticipated funding cuts didn’t happen. He also said the district was awarded a grant that allowed it to bring back five teachers.
“That’s the reason why we were able to bring so many back,” he said.
Felske also said the district qualified for the $100 per-pupil funding increase for meeting Gov. Rick Snyder’s “best practices” initiative.