Cable system will air school board meetings

February 19, 1997


Staff Writer

CLEAR SPRING - Speaking out about education issues could earn you a close-up on television once the Washington County Board of Education begins airing its meetings next month.

The school board voted Tuesday night to start broadcasting school board business meetings March 11 on Antietam Cable under a plan that has local business partners picking up the tab.

Board member Doris J. Nipps asked that the motion to start airing the meetings include a provision that the board's operating budget wouldn't be used to pay for the broadcasts if the business partnership plan fell through.


"If we can get it paid for by business partners, I'm OK with it," Nipps said earlier. "But I believe money first needs to go into the classroom."

Board member Edwin Hayes, who made the motion, said he agrees that the broadcasts shouldn't be funded by the school board.

He said he isn't worried about a lack of outside support for the plan.

Glessner Alarm Communication Systems of Hagerstown offered to sponsor initial broadcasts by hiring two camera equipment operators at $21 per hour, said Andrew McMahon, assistant superintendent for administrative services.

Other businesses are expected to keep the broadcasts going, McMahon said.

Three camera owned by the school system will be set up in the board's central office auditorium, he said.

One camera will show school board members, McMahon said. The other two cameras will be pointed at the speaker table and audience.

While the actual broadcasts won't cost the school board anything, there is a small start-up expense involved, McMahon said.

The board will need to spend $500 to purchase a new monitor for each of the three cameras and a television monitor to view what's being videotaped, he said.

The set-up is needed to achieve a professional broadcast, McMahon said.

The equipment cost will be offset in about 10 meetings by a savings on overtime pay to board employees, who would otherwise be needed to monitor audiotaping of the meetings, McMahon said.

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