Officials vote to broadcast Pine-Richland School Board meetings
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Broadcasts of Pine-Richland School Board meetings will resume in May.
School directors voted 6-3 on March 25 to authorize the service at an annual cost of approximately $4,300 in overtime pay to Stephen Karpinski, technician and stage manager for PRTV, the school district's in-house TV station.
Karpinski will begin filming the school board's planning and regular meetings on May 6.
“I've heard that people are saying, ‘Oh, it's coming back? That's great,'” Karpinski said.
Pine-Richland School Board previously screened its meetings, but stopped the broadcasts in May 2011.
Did Karpinski ever get feedback on the meeting broadcasts?
“I heard that people liked it and missed watching them when they stopped,” he said. “If we had a problem with a meeting broadcast, people would call in about it.”
Beginning next month, Consolidated Communications will resume airing the school board meetings on Channel 404. Armstrong Cable will broadcast the sessions on Channels 50 and 211.
School directors Therese Dawson, Marc Casciani and Dennis Sundo opposed the school board's March 25 decision to resume recording and screening the meetings.
They view the broadcasts as a non-essential use of funds when Pine-Richland School District is requesting a tax increase to balance its proposed 2013-14 budget.
“I agreed to get rid of this a few years ago,” Sundo said about the expense of filming and broadcasting school board meetings.
Dawson cited a “lack of interest” in the broadcasts, considering that no person has entered the upcoming May primary election for two forthcoming vacancies on the school board.
“It looks like an indefinite cost,” Casciani said before he voted against authorizing the renewed broadcasting of school board meetings.
Stephen Hawbaker, former board president, said he understood his colleagues' concerns before he voted to resume the broadcasts.
“I understand not wanting to spend more money,” Hawbaker said. “I look at this as an opportunity to inform our public that has been missed since we got rid of it (the broadcasts).”
Dr. Jeff Banyas also voted to resume airing the school board's meetings on TV.
“I had a number of inquiries after we got rid of it,” Banyas said. “I think it's worth the money to inform the public.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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