By ROBERT PIERCE • Daily Leader
USD No. 480 Board of Education meetings could be broadcast on TV in the near future, but a decision to do so will have to wait for about two more months.
Board members voted 5-0, with members Stacy Johnson and Dr. Jim Jury absent, Monday to table the item until the board’s first meeting in July, the beginning of the district’s 2009-2010 fiscal year.
Before the decision, district technology director Terry Adams gave an overview of three options for the board to consider.
At a total cost of $27,300, he said option A would be the most expensive, but it would provide two cameras.
Adams said one of the cameras would have a wide angle to view the whole board room at the Education Service Center on cable channel 16, and the other would have a telephoto lens to have a close up of the person talking.
“If you do a wide angle of this building, the camera’s going to be in the back of the room, and people won’t necessarily know who is talking just by who is looking,” he said. “Also in proposal A are the
16 microphones that would be mounted to the tables.”
Adams said one piece of equipment common to all three proposals is encoder and decoder boxes.
“We don’t currently have those, so we tape record games and broadcast them later,” he said. “We don’t need decoder boxes to do that.”
Adams said in order to do a live meeting from the ESC, video and audio signals would have to be changed to digital in order to go across the network and down to an office at Liberal High School.
“Once we get the signal down there, we have to change it from digital back to video and audio so it’ll appear on channel 16,” he said. “In order to do anything live, those are the two boxes you do that, and since we don’t do anything live, we’ve never had those two boxes.”
Adams said no matter which option the board goes with, the encoder and decoder boxes are required.
He said option B would involve taking cameras the district currently uses to broadcast football games from the video class at the high school.
“It’s not purchasing any cameras, but it still requires the two decoder boxes, decoder and encoder box, and the microphones,” he said.
Both option B and and option C run at a total cost of $13,300.
Adams said perhaps except for option C, personnel would be needed to operate equipment.
“In the first option, you have to have somebody who remotely runs the cameras,” he said. “If you have somebody to run the cameras, that person also can control the mics.”
Adams said option B does not involve any telephoto lenses, and any video would be via a wide angle lens.
“We only have one shot, and that’s it, which means we don’t need anybody to manage that, but if you want the microphones off and on, we need a person to manage those,” he said.
Adams said the three options only addressed equipment for the broadcast, and school officials would discuss personnel issues, such as the cost of paying people to run the equipment, at a later time.
He said a concern about option B could be occasional conflicts involving broadcasting events which happen on the same night.
“You’ll run into a conflict about whether you’re going to broadcast a board meeting or there’s an event at the high school that needs to be broadcast,” he said.
Adams said as he worked up the three proposals, option C was the most intriguing.
“Option C costs the same as option B,” he said. “You still have to have the encoder boxes, decoder, and you still have to have the microphones. But what option C gives you is instead of having a picture of the board on channel 16, you put a picture of the audience display. They would hear the discussion about what is there, but wouldn’t see you guys.”
Funding for the proposal the board chooses would likely come from the district’s capital outlay fund or the general fund.