Editorial: Get with the program, Kingsport BOE | Editorials
While discussing a proposal to broadcast live meetings, some members of the Kingsport Board of Education are unable to find the forest for the trees. After all, the council conducts public affairs and should do everything in its power to give taxpayers digital access to its discussions and votes.
The notion has been launched for several meetings on process and costs even as President Jim Welch continues to look for nits. At the last meeting, Welch said any broadcast, audio or visual, should only include commercial elements of the advice and specifically exclude any public comment. He said everything the board does should be directly related to promoting the school system, policies and planning.
In other words, he wants a censor to keep the camera on to make sure the general public doesn’t hear anything negative from speakers at meetings and wants to project a positive image of the board rather than what could actually be happening, such as disagreements. – like the one on broadcasting meetings. Welch is against it, while other members like Todd Golden are in favor.
“All other public bodies broadcast their meetings. I don’t know why we should be any different, ”Golden said.
We neither. And let’s not bring cost into the discussion – it’s negligible.
The informal consensus at a recent working session was that Deputy Superintendent of Administration Andy True take a closer look at what it would take to broadcast only the audio of meetings and working sessions live on the station. school system student radio. Why no video?
Welch said he learned at a recent Tennessee School Boards Association workshop that most school boards do not release public comments. And why is it relevant? It may well be that most city councils, county boards and county school boards do not broadcast their meetings, but in those areas we do the right thing and keep the public informed. The Kingsport Mayor and Aldermen’s Council, the Sullivan County Commission, and the Sullivan County Board of Education all do this.
Board members Melissa Woods and Brandon Fletcher also expressed little interest in the video. Woods said the video would be a more compelling medium, but the start-up and recurring costs might not be worth it.
“Personally, I don’t see the need in the video,” Fletcher said. “I don’t know if the investment would be worth it.”
Fletcher is looking for flaws and excuses. We repeat, the cost would be – or should – be negligible. We’re talking about the broadcast of a school council meeting, not a Hollywood production.
The Tennessee Open Meetings Act letter states, “The General Assembly hereby declares that the policy of this state is that the formation of public policy and decisions is a public matter and should not be conducted in secret. All meetings of any governing body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, except as provided by the Tennessee Constitution. The spirit of the law should oblige the school board to ensure that meetings reach the widest possible audience.
Welch said he was concerned the meetings would focus on entertaining or attracting viewers rather than the affairs of the school system.
Vice-President Julie Byers retorts that such live broadcasts are done by other public bodies and are probably long overdue.
“I just don’t understand the apprehension,” Golden said. “We should follow the program. “
We remind Welch that meetings only become entertainment when the cameras do. Do people’s business without a theater, and it’s just meetings.
Golden is spot on: Get with the program.