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Manitowoc school board members explain how they'll utilize key fobs that access all district buildings

Posted at 8:56 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 21:56:28-04

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Once a teacher himself, Matthew Phipps is ready to enter the classroom again. But this time, it'll be as an observer.

"I just think that our community needs transparency and this is one step in that process," he said.

On Tuesday night, the Manitowoc school board voted to provide members with key fobs for access to all district buildings. That motion passed five to two.

"Just having that pop-in to be able to see, sign in at the office and then observing a classroom, I think that's very strong and very good insight to having a true representation of what's going on," Phipps said.

A member himself, Phipps says he doesn't speak for the entire school board. But he says he wants to to figure out why families are moving out of the community.

"Things that happen some days aren't always what happens every day, so the relationship you gain with your building principal or with your teachers are how you facilitate the action," Phipps said.

Interim Superintendent James Feil says parents are also welcome to visit schools.

"My years of experience has said if there's been one concern is that the board members aren't spending time in the schools," he said.

After his observations, board member Tony Vlastelica tells us he won't rule out proposing any action he feels is necessary.

"What I've experienced is, and particularly in a larger school district, the board members working with their superintendent actually assigned schools to board members to make sure that all the schools were covered," Feil said.

Vlastelica doesn't speak for the board either, but he hopes the community knows he cares by showing up in class.

"The last thing they want to do is disrupt anything," the current superintendent said. "But obviously, it's nice to be able to see that our schools are working and going good and that we're supporting them."