Some Saline school board meetings will be televised if the Board of Education approves a new policy its meeting Sept. 25.
The board’s policy committee met Wednesday and agreed to recommend a policy that would see the first board meeting of the month shifted to Saline City Hall, which is equipped with broadcasting equipment.
The meeting would be aired on Saline Community Television Network (Channel 18), only available in the city, and be uploaded to SCTN’s video channel on Vimeo.com.
Trustee David Holden said he thinks it is important to broadcasting and recording meetings.
“It’s an issue of transparency. Minutes of meetings are kept, but they are not meant to be comprehensive. You don’t always get the flavor of what took place when you read the minutes,” Holden said, noting that many governments and school boards record and broadcast meetings.
Superintendent Scot Graden said broadcasting the meetings can also be another form of public relations. Periodically, the board of education holds meetings at the district’s schools. Student bands, choirs and actors often perform for the board.
“If we’re broadcasting the meetings and they are available on the internet, mom or dad and the grandparents can log on and see that we’re celebrating their work,” Graden said.
The district generally has two meetings a month. Graden said the second meeting is usually more of a workshop meeting. That meeting would continue to take place at Liberty School. Council chambers are not available for the second meeting of the month.
The district considered equipping Liberty School with a broadcast booth. Graden said the cost would have been approximately $35,000. It’s something that could still happen, Graden said.
“Another benefit to building facilities would be that we increase our ability to rent facilities,” Graden said.
Holden asked if Comcast, which funds SCTN as part of its franchise agreement, would consider paying the cost to build the facility. Graden said Comcast declined.
One concern is that with cameras rolling grandstanding board members or audience members may be more likely to distract from the task at hand.
"But I think people are cognizant of what that looks like," Holden said.
If the policy is approved, the Oct. 9 meeting will take place at Saline City Hall.