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Manitowoc school board member hosts solo listening session for concerned families and district staff

Posted at 11:20 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 00:24:13-05

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Manitowoc school board Vice President Collin Braunel hosted his own listening session at Lincoln High School in an effort to hear questions and concerns from members of the community.

"I believe in accountability for this position," he said "As somebody that has sat in the area where you wanted answers from elected officials in the past, I know it's frustrating when you're not getting your answers."

Braunel did not speak on behalf of the rest of the board, but around 30 people went to the two-hour session on Tuesday night.

"I was hearing some frustration from quite a few different individuals that there was some concerns in the district, some of the things that we were doing," he said.

Parents and staff members in attendance asked to see the new superintendent in schools more, and for further vetting of the district's proposed literacy reform model.

"How are you going to fix the lack of transparency?" one woman asked.

Others asked that the board works harder to build relationships with families and district staff.

"Your goal with the staff needs to be building some trust," someone in attendance said.

"They may not agree with me, but at least this way then I'm hearing them and responding to them," Braunel said.

Presented with a list of concerns at the end of the session, Braunel says he will email individuals with more detailed responses. He says the meeting was a good start.

"Some people are more comfortable just shooting out emails," he said. "Some people are more comfortable one-on-one. As long as that feedback and discussion is taking place, then I think we're in a good spot."

Braunel says the idea was not his own and that lawmakers have held similar events in the past.