Archive for Sunday, September 18, 2005

Board of Ed might air meetings on Internet

Kan-Ed offering to set up service for free

September 18, 2005


— The State Board of Education has gained international attention over its treatment of evolution and other matters.

Now, some board members want their often contentious meetings broadcast worldwide.

Last week, the board seemed in agreement on going forward with trying to audio stream its meetings through the Internet.

"This would be a great benefit not just to Kansas folks, but worldwide," said board member John Bacon, a Republican from Olathe.

The board asked its staff to come up with a proposal with Kan-Ed, a communications network administered by the Kansas Board of Regents, to audio stream the meetings.

At first, Bacon wanted to have the State Department of Education handle the broadcast, but the startup cost of $17,500 and necessary staff time raised concerns with other board members.

"The board has been burning through money," said Bill Wagnon, a Democrat from Topeka.

Hal Gardner, director of Kan-Ed, offered the services for free, saying that broadcasting meetings related to schools "is what we do." Kan-Ed is designed to connect public institutions, schools, hospitals and libraries to broadband Internet service.

One concern was over Kan-Ed having the capability to handle all those who wanted to listen to the meetings, especially when highly controversial issues were before the board.

For example, in October or November, the conservative board members, who hold a 6-4 majority, are expected to give final approval to controversial science standards that criticize evolution.

"I'd hate to blow the network up," said Janet Waugh, a moderate Democrat from Kansas City, Kan.

Gardner said Kan-Ed would monitor the broadcast closely to make sure the audio streaming worked and the quality was sound.

Board members also said they would shut off the audio streaming during the period of their meeting in which the public is allowed to speak to the board.

Abrams said he didn't want someone who made a personal verbal attack on a board member to be heard throughout the world.


usaschools 12 years, 6 months ago

The board members have made plenty of verbal attacks against each other this year, so they may as well let the public join in.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 6 months ago

This group may say one thing on screen then quickly call a special meeting and change all that was agreed on...better keep the cameras running 24 hours a day.

billmore 12 years, 6 months ago

They mentioned using Kan-ed to avoid expenses to the board. Kan-ed will have to spend more money to do this also. I'm more concerned about one more expenditure of public funds (Kan-ed or KSDE) that could have been spent on schools.

John1945 12 years, 6 months ago

Abrams doesn't have a problem with public input. The public will still be allowed to comment. What he won't allow, anymore than the JW would in this forum, is for someone to stand there and slander either members of the board, or anyone else.

Who knows how many people might make the kind of liberlous accusations Merrill made the other day against Connie Morris. Unfortunately they have little legal recourse against such silliness.

They are doing the public a service by broadcasting their meetings and allowing public input, but they have no ethical responsibility to broadcast the rantings of every loon who can stand at a microphone and spew lies.

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