Pasco County school district officials have begun conferring with their policy consultant in preparation for the anticipated move to video recording its meetings for public viewing.
They’ve already started coalescing around some key points as they prepare governing rules for the process, which board members requested before turning the cameras on.
The initial draft policy language would state that the board “may” record the meetings, to indicate that it faces no obligation to do so. It also makes clear that any videos created will not be considered an official record of the board’s actions, though the district would preserve the files as required by state sunshine laws.
Formal board minutes and audio recordings would remain the official records of the work meetings.
These ideas would cover many of the concerns raised by board attorney Dennis Alfonso as members discussed the pros and cons of having videotapes of their sessions, and which parts to include. The board indicated its preference to record all of the meeting except the public comment section dealing with items not appearing on the day’s agenda.
In advance of any change, the board agreed to split public comment into two sections. People speaking about items appearing on the agenda would be given preference, while those wanting to talk about general issues would be given the balance of the allocated hour at the very end of the meeting.
Assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley has asked other administrators for their feedback on the wording he’s drawn up, so he can get a final review from the Ohio-based consultant. A new policy could be in effect for the videos to begin by June.
Already, a handful of residents have begun emailing district leaders to encourage them not only to record the meetings, but to live stream them. So far, the plan appears to be to post the meetings after they have concluded, although no final decision has been reached.
Note: This post has been updated to reflect that the assistant superintendent asked other administrators, and not board members, for input on this policy.