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District 61 Survey: Most Local Boards Don't Broadcast Meetings

The district conducted the survey as part of its ongoing discussion about whether to televise school board meetings.

District 61 Survey: Most Local Boards Don't Broadcast Meetings

would be in the minority if it decided to televise its board meetings, according to a survey the district conducted among area school boards.

Superintendent Bob Carlo presented the survey at Tuesday’s board meeting as a continuation of a discussion started in November about . 

Three out of 14 local school boards that District 61 surveyed film their board meetings and share them on a website. Three more record audio. None televise their meetings.

Neighboring  used to broadcast its meetings on local cable access but stopped in 2008 because of low viewership. 

Maercker School District 60, which serves parts of Westmont, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Darien and Hinsdale, is also considering filming or recording its meetings, according to the survey.

District 61 board members raised two concerns about broadcasting meetings: cost and quality.

“If it’s something that’s going to be done, you have to do it right,” board President Bob Rzeszutko said. “It’s frustrating if you can’t see or hear people.” 

The district would likely have to pay someone to record the meeting because, as Rzeszutko said, it’s inadvisable to “just put up a video camera and let it sit.” 

District 63 — the only district to report a cost associated with filming — said it used to spend $150 per meeting. District 61 would also have to purchase equipment, Carlo said in November.

Carlo said at the November board meeting that a resident had asked whether the district had ever considered broadcasting the meetings.

“(T)he board really hasn’t had a discussion about it,” he said at the time.

At Tuesday’s meeting the board decided to ask parents on the end of year survey if they think meetings should be televised.

Results from District 61's survey of nearby districts appear below:

DistrictVideo/AudioHow longBroadcast methodDoes it add valueBensenville 2No n/a n/a n/aAddison 4Video 20 years Village of Addison website Steady stream of communication vs. everyone has to behaveQueen Bee 16No n/a n/a n/aBenjamin 25No Improved behavior of board membersButler 53Audio 2-3 years Website Thinks soMaercker 60Not yet exploring n/a n/aGower 62No n/a n/a n/aCass 63Not any more 2004-2008 Local cable No one was really watching it and we had no feedback (or) disappointment after we took it off the air. It cost us $150 per meeting to tape and edit.Woodridge 68Audio Forever No NoHinsdale 86Video Two meetings WebsiteCCSD 99Video One month Website Careful with what you sayLemont 113ANo Stopped
Burr Ridge 180No n/a n/a n/aHinsdale 181Audio Three years Website live stream Helpful for incoming superintendent

Survey source: District 61

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