District 211 doing more research on broadcasting meetings
Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 officials and community members expressed Thursday that they wanted more research be done before the board moves forward on the prospect of broadcasting their meetings.
In the past month the board surveyed 46 other school districts to understand how widespread the practice of broadcasting meetings is and what methods other districts use.
The survey found that eight of those districts, including nearby Community Consolidated School District 15, broadcast board meetings. All but one use district-owned cameras and hire a staff member to do the recording instead of paying an outside company to produce the video.
According to the research, most board meeting videos are broadcasted on cable and either live-streamed or posted on the internet.
The board consulted several companies to provide initial cost estimates, which ranged from $50,000 to $90,000.
Superintendent Nancy Robb clarified that the annual cost after the broadcast is set up would be about $1,000, but there were still concerns about the price and execution of recording the meetings.
Board member Bill Robertson recommended the board take up an offer from the village of Palatine to record a meeting or two with village resources to see what kind of feedback the board gets from staff members and the public.
"Why don't we try this on and see if it's even something that's worth it?" he said, adding that he wanted Robb to look into the specifics of ways the board could do broadcasting on a trial basis.
Board member Anna Klimkowicz said she supports the idea of broadcasting, but asked for more cost-effective options that would also benefit the community need to be explored.
"When we're talking about transparency, communication, openness, we need to be able to do this, if the cost is reasonable. It's a wonderful thing to do for the community," she said, adding that Harper College students who are interested in getting experience with audio and video techniques should be considered as people who could tape meetings.
The board decided at the end of the discussion that Robb would research the issue more, discuss broadcasting with officials from both the village of Palatine and Harper College and present the findings at a future meeting.
Some community members present at the meeting, while in favor of the broadcasting, were not happy with the current details of the prospect.
Schaumburg resident John Parker, a member of Northwest Suburban Taxpayers United, said he was especially upset with the estimated cost of broadcasting. He was also disappointed the board didn't come up with plans that would allow District 211 students to help with the taping.
"My hope was to get the kids involved in this," he said, adding that he spoke with officials at Palatine High School who said they would be interested in letting students help out with the broadcast and counting it as community service hours. "If we're here to educate the kids, this is a real good, real world learning experience for them."
Jen Zold, of Palatine, recorded Thursday's meeting with a handheld video camera in an effort to encourage transparency by the board and to show how easy it is to make a video.
"I'm not here about the cost. I'm here about the transparency," she said, adding that the video will be posted on spotlightontheboard.org, which contains notes and recordings from Palatine school board meetings. "I don't know why they're purposefully making it so complicated."