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A virtual learning program will come to an end in Manitowoc, says MPSD

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 18:22:44-05
  • The Manitowoc School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to end the Kindergarten through 8th grade virtual learning at McKinley Academy. The program will end after the school year.
  • School Board President, Stacey Soeldner said the program was not equitable after falling enrollment. Soeldner said the school spends $30,000 per McKinley student, compared to $8,000 at other MPSD schools.
  • Lisa Thomas is the mother of a 5th grade student in McKinley's virtual program. She says the program is too valuable to end and hopes the Board gives the decision more thought.

McKinley Academy in Manitowoc has offered Kindergarten through 8th grade instruction virtually since 2021. That will be coming to an end after this school year. I spoke with one parent about her concerns.
"They started it, and they should finish it,” said concerned parent Lisa Thomas.

Thomas is the mother of 5th grade student in the virtual program. She's disappointed, she says the program was there for a reason.

"These are kids, especially mine, who have issues with anxiety, being around large groups of people, loud noises,” Thomas said. “They need a little extra help following along."

The board voted unanimously to end the K through 8 online learning program at Tuesday’s board meeting.

"The reason we chose for this was definitely the decline in enrollment,” said School Board President, Stacey Soeldner.

Soeldner says enrollment in the program went from more than 100 to only 25 this year. She says the district was spending as much as $30,000 per McKinley student. Compare this to other schools where the district only spends about $8,000 per student.

"It just really wasn't equitable for the amount of money that we were spending to the amount of people that we had in the enrollment,” said Soeldner.

Soeldner says the district is spending about $800,000 on McKinley.

But Thomas isn't sold. She believes the program outweighs the cost.

"I think they should take some more time to consider the importance of this program,” said Thomas.

Thomas thanks the board for waiting until the end of the school year to discontinue the program but asks for more transparency in the future. She is not sure yet where her son will attend next year.