People soon will be able to tune into the local government access channel to watch meetings of the Leavenworth Board of Education.

People soon will be able to tune into the local government access channel to watch meetings of the Leavenworth Board of Education.

School board members voted Monday to approve an agreement with a videographer to record meetings so they can be broadcast on cable channel 2 in Leavenworth.

The district will pay Nick Schale $1,620 to videotape nine meetings.
Superintendent Kelly Crane said the Nov. 21 school board meeting will be the first one videotaped for broadcast.

Crane said only the board’s evening meetings will be videotaped. Noon meetings board members have at school buildings will not be recorded for broadcast.

Board president Mike Robinson said the meetings will not be televised live.

The district already has been posting audio recordings of meetings on its website. But Robinson said he’s been approached a number of times by people who wanted to know when the board would start videotaping its meetings.

“This is an old question,” he said.

Robinson said one of the goals of the board concerns community engagement.

“The public doesn’t come to our meetings,” he said.

He suggested that taping meetings for broadcast was a way of bringing them to the public.

Board member Nancy Klemp said she attended a Kansas Association of School Boards meeting in which it was indicated some school districts have stopped broadcasting meetings because it wasn’t beneficial for the boards or teachers.

Robinson said the KASB does not recommend videotaping meetings.

Klemp acknowledged some constituents in the district would like to watch televised meetings.

“I’m kind of walking the tight rope in the middle,” she said.

Klemp expressed concern that some people may play to the camera during meetings that are videotaped.

Board member Donna Brown noted that school board members have voted on this issue in the past. She asked if the issue would keep coming up.

Robinson said board members could bring back the issue in six months even if it was voted down Tuesday.

Board member Danny Zeck said board members won’t know what type of feedback they’ll receive from videotaping meetings until they’re broadcast on television. He said the board can later decide to discontinue the practice.

Board vice president Marti Crow said she had no objection to videotaping meetings.

“They’re public already,” she said of the meetings.

She said videotaping them is a way of providing public access.

“I think it is a good public service,” she said.

Brown asked about the source of the money that will be used to pay the videographer. She questioned whether this was money that could be used for field trips.

“Is it out of the same pot of money?” she asked.

Crane said the money could come from a line item in the budget designated for the school board.

Kevin Gullett, chief financial officer, said there’s money already set aside for these types of things.

Klemp said she wasn’t adverse to trying it and seeing if board members receive any feedback.

Board member Paul Kittle said he was in favor of videotaping the meetings.

“There’s nothing to hide,” he said.

A motion to videotape the meetings for channel 2 passed 6-0. Board member Loyal Torkelson was absent.