Monday, September 22, 2008

Take the show on the road?

In past years, school board meetings were held at different buildings in the district in an effort to make them more accessible to the public. But then came the cable tv rebroadcasts which made meetings available to anyone who couldn't come to the meetings in person, and so the meeting location has been fixed to the Board Room at Maple Point. The question is should we be moving board meetings to different buildings as we did in the past or should we keep them at Maple Point?

Those in favor of moving the meetings around would say it's a great way to ensure that board members actually visit the various buildings in the district, and it would make meetings more accessible for those who can't always trek in to Maple Point.

Opponents of the idea claim that much time and money has been put into improving the quality of the broadcasts from Maple Point, and there would be a decrease in the broadcast quality if we move the meetings to other locations. Besides that, the whole point of the rebroadcasts was to accommodate those people who couldn't make it to the meetings.

What do you think? Please vote in the Readers Poll over on the right side, then feel free to add your comments to this post.


KClarinet said...

I don't have a strong feeling for or against moving the meetings around the district. My one concern is that under any circumstances the video recording for re-broadcast *must* continue.

mamasaid said...

If the capability for rebroadcasting is lost, or the quality is poor, then I doubt that the limited number of extra people attending a meeting at a new location will measure up to the number across the district who regularly watch the rebroadcasts.

If one of the reasons is to get the board out to the schools, there is ample opportunity for visits at any number of school functions or PTO meetings which are held frequently at the different facilities. And it seems a stretch to assemble the band or some other hoopla for the sake of the meeting.

But most of all, if one of the big reasons for holding the meetings at the elementary schools is to "check them out," so we can decide which is the best to close, visiting all 8 schools with only 5 board meetings left for this school year will take us into February 2009. That will put us right back to where we were last year, considering a school closure in February. No thanks!

If we do decide to change the meeting place, let's be realistic about the reasons, and be sure that the trade-offs are worth it.

finance-101 said...

I don't know what is involved to tape the meetings at the remote sites but it probably is not worth it. Eccles had a good idea as he said the school board has lost touch with the community.

One way to get in touch would be to have quarterly town hall meetings in addition to the school board meetings. Those meetings could be rotated between all the schools. Town hall meetings would be much more effective, since there would be a dialogue between the community and the school board. In public comment there is no dialogue. Also, some people are reluctant to get up during public comment for different reasons. At public comment you have people who have an agenda making fools of themselves as they present inaccurate statistics and incorrect information which is damaging to the district and our real estate prices. Those inaccuracies could be easily addressed during a town hall meeting and the community could get more in touch with the school board.

William O'Connor said...

The following comment from Neshaminy was edited for content

It would be great to see board members visit the actual schools in the district.
I've yet to see a board member at one of the schools outside of board meetings.
Very sad :(

William O'Connor said...

The following comment from KAC was edited for content

Finance-101: I like the idea of town hall meetings.

Steve said...

I do not think that it is such a hardship for a school board member to visit a school that they have to schedule a regular meeting at a school so that a member can visit that school. They should have known that visiting the schools is a part of the job.

JS said...

I personally find it hilarious that Eccles is the one saying the board has lost touch with the community.

In all seriousness, the possible confusion on where the next meeting will be isn't worth the small difference in actual attendance. The broadcast setup currently is in place and tested. Moving it around always could produce problems. Then even more people would be left out of the loop.

The town hall idea is great. Let the community become re-involved in a more comfortable environment (the schools, not the board room).

William O'Connor said...

With the Readers Poll now closed, 60% of the 62 participants said we should keep the meetings at the Board Room. Based on comments on this blog, it sounds as though the quality of the cable TV broadcasts was a major factor behind this opinion.