Clark School Board decides against live-streaming meetings

Published 11:23 am Thursday, January 27, 2022

A motion to add a discussion about a measure that would have made it policy for all Clark County Public Schools Board of Education meetings to be live-streamed on the internet was defeated at Tuesday’s board meeting, 3-2.

Board member Bill Taulbee said after the meeting that he wanted to add the measure to the agenda because live-streaming all meetings would provide more transparency due to the ongoing scrutiny that boards are facing across the country. Ashely Ritchie joined Taulbee in supporting the motion.

Board chair Megan Hendricks, Brenda Considine and Sherry Richardson voted against it.

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The district started live-streaming the meetings on YouTube during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and continued the practice until November of last year. Kentucky law does not require public meetings to be broadcast in any capacity.

Superintendent Molly McComas said she decided to end the live streaming in November because of low viewership numbers and consideration for the district’s technology employees.

“When you have a technology person in the back who is trying to do a live stream, trying to also video and then is going to have to record have it put up that night, and board meetings aren’t ending until 10 o’clock, people just want to get home to their families,” McComas said.

The number of views for live-stream meetings ranged from as high as 2,800 for a special-called meeting on Sept. 20, 2021, to 441 views for a regular meeting on Nov. 15.

Views for the last two meetings uploaded a few days later were much lower, with 143 and 94 views, respectively.

McComas said that to be transparent, all board meetings will be uploaded on the Friday of the week they occur. Fridays were chosen to establish a consistent upload schedule and not interrupt technology employees’ typical workflow.

“A lot of districts don’t do recordings or post in a timely manner. I feel like we are still going above and beyond,” McComas said.

Hendricks said she concurs with McComas’ reasoning when voting against the measure.

Several neighboring school districts have kept up the practice of live-streaming board meetings on their Facebook or YouTube pages: Woodford County, Fayette County, Paris Independent, Madison County, Estill County and Montgomery County.

Jessamine County uses a tape delay schedule and usually uploads the meeting the day after it was held.

Only two nearby districts, Bourbon and Powell counties, do not regularly stream their meetings.