A Geneva citizens group and the Geneva School District 304 Board of Education are now sharing School Board meeting videos online.
GenevaTaxFACTS, a volunteer group of Geneva residents, announced on March 26 that it is posting videos of Geneva school board’s semimonthly meetings on its website GenevaTaxFACTS.org.
The School District announced on April 3 that it is posting of meeting videos on the Geneva School District website at this address.
Since 2009, School Board meeting videos have been live streamed and re-run at various times on Comcast Channel 10. TaxFACTS members asked the board to post videos online so that they could be viewed at any time and so that viewers could have a "fast forward" option rather than have to view the full meeting to watch one part of it.
Also, School District residents of Mill Creek don't have access to Comcast.
“Taxpayers want instant access to this information,” said Steve Sheehan, spokesman in a GenevaTaxFACTS press release. “Not everyone can attend the semimonthly meetings, but they have a right to see and hear the proceedings so they know how their money is spent.”
Basically, School District 304 agrees.
School Board online videos can be accessed through the above link or by going to www.geneva304.org<http://www.geneva304.org/> and clicking on “Board of Education” followed by “Meetings” and “Meeting Videos.”
On the meeting videos webpage, parents, community members, and any other interested parties will be able to view the most current Board of Education, Policy Committee, and Finance Advisory Committee meetings. Users will also find a link to a video archive , which will date back to the board’s Feb. 27, 2012, regular meeting.
Earlier this school year, the Board of Education made available to the public packets of documents that support meeting agenda items. These items are typically made available to the public the Friday prior to a Monday meeting on BoardBook.
A summary of meeting actions—titled “For the Record”—is also sent out via 304 Connects following each regular meeting of the Board.
"The Board of Education is hopeful that these improvements to its communication practices provide the community with information about and insight into Geneva School District," the School District said in a press release.
The School Board is requiring GenevaTaxFACTS to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Alternatively, citizens are also allowed to video meetings as long as they don’t distract. In the case of the March 17 School Board retreat, GenevaTaxFACTS created its own video as the board has not previously videoed these meetings.
With the assistance of GenevaTaxFACTS volunteers, coding is used to create fast links to video content. Also, the group is archiving the videos on its website so a historical record is accessible. Access to the videos is free.
“Our mission is to monitor spending to make sure our money is spent wisely,” Sheehan said. “Our School Board is facing some hard choices in the next few years in order to address $305 million in bond debt, potential teacher salary increases, increasing operating costs, and legislative reform that will put more burdens on local taxpayers to contribute to school pensions.”
The School Board oversees annual operating expenditures of $86 million plus debt repayment. For the Geneva taxpayers, this comprises about 69 percent of their property tax bills, according to the TaxFACTS press release.
SOURCES: Geneva TaxFACTS press release and School District 304 press release.