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'We need to make concessions'; Audit finds Manitowoc School District facing expenses up to $160 million

Posted at 5:45 PM, May 22, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Manitowoc is a city beloved for its historic schools, but at what cost? Here’s a look at the numbers after an audit revealed a need for major renovation.

  • Manitowoc Public Schools will need to pay an estimated $160 million over the next ten years to maintain their buildings.
  • School Board member Matthew Phipps thinks consolidating schools may be a good idea.
  • Manitowoc local Luther Arndt say he wants what is best for the kids.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

School board member Matthew Phipps says he can't speak for the entire board, but believes they need to find a solution.

"The facilities are in dire need,” said Phipps. "We have such beautiful and wonderful facilities, however we do not need to continue to grow when there is not a need."

Phipps says enrollment is falling at Manitowoc Public Schools at a time when repairs and other costs are getting expensive.

An audit shows over five to ten years, more than $100 million needed for middle and high schools and nearly $60 million needed for elementary schools.

"We need to make concessions,” says Phipps. “I think common sense consolidation would be one consensus that we could minimize our costs but yet improve what we have."

Manitowoc local Luther Arndt says he could support consolidation as long as the kids come first.

"Isn't that what we all want?” asked Arndt. “To try and save money but give our kids the best education that they could get."

Arndt's friend Elise winter has a young daughter in the district.

"I want to make sure that she has the best education in the best environment as well,” said Winter. “So, I mean, it is an important decision."

Phipps says he'd like the district to consider short-term borrowing to avoid putting expenses on the taxpayers.

I've reached out to the district superintendent for comment but haven't yet heard back.