MANITOWOC - Manitowoc School Board is one step closer to receiving key fobs that would allow them to have employee-level access to school buildings.
During a special Board of Education meeting Sept. 27, the board unanimously approved changes to the district’s school visitor policy that allows board members to have a key fob that will give them access to all school buildings.
“The goal is to enhance the policy-making process and to cultivate an open, positive and cooperative relationship between the members of the board and the teachers, administrators and staff members,” the policy now states in regard to the expanded access for board members.
The policy also includes regulations on how and when board members can use the key fobs to access school buildings.
The keys can only be used 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, but can be used to access the board room in the Administration Building at 2902 Lindbergh Drive as needed.
In addition to always visibly wearing school identification badges, board members will also be required to sign in and out at the buildings’ main offices when visiting during regular school hours. They must also gain the consent of the teacher in charge to enter any classroom or area where educational activities are being held.
For Matthew Phipps, a board member since April, the increased access to school buildings is a way to bring transparency on the schools to the public, through the board members and what they experience there.
“We’re trying to do our due diligence and help the community support the schools,” Phipps told the Herald Times Reporter. “There’s a lot of people not supporting what’s going on … so this kind of hones in and brings the community together with an understanding of what’s going on in their schools.”
The Buildings & Grounds Committee started looking at both the school visitor policy and facility security policy after July 12, when the board voted to give current and future board members employee-level access to all buildings in the district.
The decision will allow board members to gain access to those buildings through any of the entrances, not just the ones that are monitored by staff.
During public input at the July 12 meeting, citizens were split in their opinions about the decision. Some said the move could make students feel unsafe when they see someone who isn’t a known member of the faculty or staff in the halls. Others said the move is an extension of the board members’ duties to govern the school district.
This policy change is one of the board’s noteworthy moves since three new members — Phipps, Matthew Spaulding and Tony Vlastelica — were elected in April.
Contact Alisa Schafer at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AlisaMSchafer.
This article originally appeared on Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter: Manitowoc school board closer to getting fobs to district buildings