Manitowoc School Board votes for leadership changes - against parents’ objections

Manitowoc School Board votes for changes
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 4:57 PM CST
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - The School Board in Manitowoc held a vote tonight to shake up the district’s leadership - and it eliminated four positions, while adding three others. The decisions were made as part of a plan to restructure the Central Office.

However, some parents are upset, saying that the changes are taking place without adequate feedback. They were hoping for answers, as to why the Manitowoc Public School District is restructuring its Central Office.

The vote was cast after no public feedback came during the meeting, and much of the discussion took place in a closed session.

One of the parents present, Dayna Goetz, commented: “I think they need to back up. I think they need to slow down. I think it’s the boards job to meet the community in the middle and and not the parent’s job to do so. We want transparency. We want ethical behavior and we want a law abiding board who follows the rules.”

However, the School President said the changes are necessary as new Superintendent James Feil seeks to bring up student achievement scores, which haven’t met expectations.

Dr. Stacey Soeldner, President of the Manitowoc School District, explains: “When the superintendent came on board we really told him, make sure that we were doing everything we could to raise our achievement scores and so that meant looking at our whole district and re-organizing our central office if we needed to.”

District officials also say they consulted with legal counsel to discuss the issue in private, because it involved personnel. As Dr. Soeldner continues: “I think one of the things is when you do a re-org like this, you need to talk about positions and actually individuals who are in those positions and because that’s confidential personnel information we got to do that in a closed session.”

Parents, though, are also concerned that the newly hired assistant superintendent consulted with the district on the proposal before being hired - writing the job description, even her own. Goetz says: “Then the recent hiring of an assistant superintendent without a nationwide search or even a thorough application process with more than one candidate presents some concerns as well to a lot of community members.”

The Superintendent was hired in June, and the Assistant Superintendent Jamie McCall just recently.

The two previously worked together in Traverse City, Michigan.

One board member tonight did vote against changes to the building and grounds positions, but everything else passed unanimously.