Cape Girardeau School Board to put video of meetings online

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tracking the Cape Girardeau School Board just got a little easier. People who missed meetings now have the option of watching video of them online.

"We want to make information about the school district more accessible to more people," said board president Kyle McDonald. "With sports, family obligations and work, it's not always convenient to make it to the meetings or sit in front of the TV."

A video production class from the Career and Technology Center already tapes the meetings, which are broadcast on cable channel 23. The district implemented a new server this summer that will allow the videos to be posted on its website,

"We already had the equipment and the software, so there really are not any extra costs," said Brian Hall, technology coordinator. He said videos should be available within two days of meetings.

For years board members have listed communication as one of their main concerns. Saying the district faced a "PR issue," they pushed for the district's webpage to be updated and more information posted.

In August, a new site was launched. School board meeting agendas, board packets and meeting minutes became available, along with other basic information such as back-to-school orientation dates, bus routes and district boundary lines.

"The discussion has been around for a while. Now we've gotten the technology where it needs to be to offer something like this," McDonald said. The online video feature will serve as an archival tool, he said.

The district appears to be a leader in Cape Girardeau County in offering online videos of meetings. Neither the Cape Girardeau City Council nor the county commission currently offer online video recordings, although both post agendas. The city council also posts minutes and broadcasts meetings on a public access TV channel.

The Jackson School Board does not post agendas, minutes, board packets or videos. Contact information for board members is also not provided.

The main person responsible for posting district information online left the district this summer. Dr. Sam Duncan, former director of state and federal programs, accepted a position at Southeast Missouri State University and was not replaced.

Board vice president Dr. T. Wayne Lewis said he hasn't "seen much interest" in video recordings from the public. "We would prefer if they could be at the meeting. The other big thing is just the expense of it and manpower," he said.


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