ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
In their regular monthly board meeting, USD 410 board members voted to approve the purchase of a school broadcast station from the Digital Classroom, Inc. in Pittsburg.
Following a presentation of the system by four HHS students and their Communications Technology teacher, Tim Beougher, the board discussion the proposal briefly before approving the $29,000 purchase.
The class had been researching options and planning for the implementation of this project. They had visited digital TV studios at Frontenac High School and Pittsburg State University.
Last summer, Beougher attended a training session on developing and operating a school-based broadcast system.
The system includes necessary equipment as well as curriculum.
Gordon Mohn, superintendent, pointed out the importance of keeping up with technological changes. He gave an example of a Kansas high school that five years ago was on the “cutting edge” of technology. That district failed to keep up with changes, and now the department has outdated equipment and curriculum.
He also said the figure of $29,000 included a discount of $10,000. The company out of Pittsburg would like to have a demonstration site closer than the one they currently have at St. Louis, and offered the discount.
Beougher said the system had the capabilities of being set up and pre-programmed for up to one month. It can take a six-hour video and show parts of it, rewind and reshow it over and over at predetermined times.
The school station would be replacing Channel 45 in the Hillsboro community.
The class hopes to broadcast school events from several different departments. Mohn noted students do many things outside of sports that go unnoticed, and this would give the public an opportunity to see youth in other activities.
The class plans to broadcast a community bulletin board, local news, local weather, the school calendar and menus, and other programs, and plans to continue broadcasting programs already being watched by Channel 45 viewers.
One board member wondered whether broadcasting religious programs would be a conflict. Currently, Channel 45 broadcasts the Sunday morning worship services at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church.
Mohn responded that it could potentially be a problem in the future. As long as the station had open access to various groups, there shouldn’t be a problem, he said. It is when groups are denied air time that problems arise.
Other board members asked about copyright laws and releases. Mohn said that would also be part of the learning experience for students. He hoped they would learn to respect the creative arts.
In order to begin operating the local-access TV station, the district was required to enter into an agreement with the City of Hillsboro. This agreement was drafted by the city attorney and also approved by the board.
In other board business, Mohn apologized to parents for the inconvenience caused by the heat-related practice schedules. He said the decision was made to not put students into risk due to high temperatures. He also said local churches were contacted regarding the Wednesday practices.
Bryce Mueller of Knudsen, Monroe & Company, LLC, presented the 1990-00 audit report. No budget or statutory violations were found.
“The district is to be commended,” said Mueller, “on how activity funds are handled.”
He went on to say other districts frequently have trouble with these funds, but that USD 410 provided all the necessary information.
Mohn also reassured the board the one Thomas school bus, which had been recalled due to a problem in the brake system, had been inspected by a certified technician and was cleared.
This was in compliance with the letter received by the Thomas Company which stated the necessary parts would not be available until November. The letter said if the bus was to be used before repairs were made, then it must be inspected by a certified Thomas technician.
The bus was not used last weekend. But it is compliant with Thomas’s instructions at this time.
Mohn also reported the Marion County Learning Center is in its fourth year and is losing money. He told the board that a meeting of superintendents, it was discussed whether to close the center or relocate it.
The board requested some statistics from the Learning Center, and Mohn agreed to bring them to the next meeting.
Debbie Geis, Durham, mother of three children, was named to replace Clara Frick on the board. Geis responded to the published notice of the board vacancy. She will serve until June 30, 2001.
In the upcoming school board election in April, this position will be listed on the ballot. The person elected at that time will serve a two-year term from July 1 to June 30, 2003.
Geis’s term began about 9 p.m. Sept. 11.