Barringtion District 220 to stream meetings online
The future of the cable channel run by the Barrington Area Unit School District 220 is in question following the school board's decision Tuesday to record and stream its meetings in digital high-definition on the district's website.
Until now, the board meetings were taped and sent off to be broadcast on Comcast Community Access Channel 97 some weeks later. Under the new plan, anyone with an Internet connection can log onto the district's website at www.barrington220.org/live and stream the meetings live or view archived meetings.
"Our view is that we can reach more people on the Internet," district spokeswoman Morgan Delack said. "The channel is only available to those who have Comcast and who also live in only Barrington, Barrington Hills and South Barrington, which is just a fraction of our district as a whole."
Delack said that to continue operating channel 97, the district would need to upgrade the transmitter so it could send digital high-definition video instead of tapes. Delack said the initial estimated cost to upgrade the transmitter would be $8,000 to $12,000.
Board member Wendy Farley said if the district decided to keep operating the channel and upgrade the transmitter, it should try to get district students involved with the channel, such as the student group BHS-TV.
"Make it more robust of a channel," Farley said. "So where it's not just our meetings, but (BHS-TV's content) that could go on there."
The board will continue its discussion of the cable channel after getting a firmer estimate of how much it would cost the district to operate it.
The board also voted to have its future meetings in the multipurpose room at the district's Early Childhood Learning Center, at 40 E. Dundee Road in Barrington.
Delack said the Learning Center is the newest district building and the best equipped to handle the new video streaming.
Superintendent Brian Harris said staff members did a trial run in the new space and said it would be bigger and better.
Board member Sandra Bradford voted in favor of moving meeting locations but said she would miss having them at Barrington High School.
"I'm a little concerned, there is a lot of activity here all the time and there's not as much there," Bradford said, before addressing the 20 or so people at the meeting. "And I think we'll miss some of our vast audience."
The first board meeting at the Learning Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 19.