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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.

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:

District Video/Audio How long Broadcast method Does it add value Bensenville 2 No n/a n/a n/a Addison 4 Video 20 years Village of Addison website Steady stream of communication vs. everyone has to behave Queen Bee 16 No n/a n/a n/a Benjamin 25 No Improved behavior of board members Butler 53 Audio 2-3 years Website Thinks so Maercker 60 Not yet exploring n/a n/a Gower 62 No n/a n/a n/a Cass 63 Not 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 68 Audio Forever No No Hinsdale 86 Video Two meetings Website CCSD 99 Video One month Website Careful with what you say Lemont 113A No Stopped
Burr Ridge 180 No n/a n/a n/a Hinsdale 181 Audio Three years Website live stream Helpful for incoming superintendent

Survey source: District 61

Diane Zabran February 07, 2012 at 10:16 PM
It's a shame that the school board, with the capability, not wanting to share their meetings with the public. I can not get to the meetings due to small children and I know that my situation is not unique. I believe that I would not be alone viewing these meetings with the ability to view the meetings at the viewers convenience of DVRs and Tevo not to shame with the public is a moral crime in my eyes!! Maybe next election year, I should rethink my vote! Diane

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