Open letter from Muskegon County School Superintendents

Dear Families:

During the last two weeks, we have experienced the worst that Michigan winters can throw at us. Below zero wind chills, drifting snow, and freezing rain have made waiting for a bus or walking to school dangerous for our children. They have also made the roads treacherous for our buses, parents, and teen drivers.

While we strive to have school in session each day, there are times when we must cancel school to ensure student safety. Closing school is a difficult decision made on an individual district basis by driving roads well before dawn and consulting with transportation and facilities staff. We will always err on the side of caution when it comes to keeping our students safe. The number of days we have used will never be a factor in the decision to close.

Our overriding concern for the safety of our students has forced us to exceed the six closure days allowed for public schools. State law requires that students be in class for 180 days, because every day of learning is an important day. While the state may approve an additional three days, we may need to add days to extend our school year.

We understand this extraordinary weather and closed schools are disruptive and cause an additional burden for our families, but we know you will agree that the safety of our children is our greatest concern.


Bob Szymoniak, Superintendent, Fruitport Community Schools
Curt Babcock, Superintendent, North Muskegon Public Schools
Adam Bayne, Superintendent, Holton Public Schools
Tom Livezey, Superintendent, Oakridge Public Schools
Bill O’Brien, Superintendent, Mona Shores Public Schools
Jim Nielsen, Superintendent, Orchard View Schools
Jeff Johnson, Superintendent, Montague Area Public Schools
John VanLoon, Superintendent, Ravenna Public Schools
Rane’ Garcia, Superintendent, Muskegon Heights PSAS
Steve Edwards, Superintendent, Reeths-Puffer Schools
Justin Jennings, Superintendent, Muskegon Public Schools
Jerry McDowell, Superintendent, Whitehall District Schools
John Severson, Superintendent, Muskegon Area ISD