LB school board member Suja Lowenthal tells LBReport.com she intends to raise issue of televising board meetings at study session later this year
(October 22, 2001) -- LB school board members have voted to pay four announcers up to $8,100 in connection with cablecasts of LB school sports games although the LB school board still doesn't televise its own meetings for the public.
At their September 4 board meeting, LBUSD board members voted to approve four contracts for announcing services in connection with cable TV broadcasts of the "LBUSD Game of the Week":
Two contracts, effective Sept. 21-Dec 1, 2001, total up to $5,100 for two announcers for cable TV broadcasting of high school football games. Two additional contracts, effective Sept 21, 2001-June 30, 2002, total up to $3,000 for another announcer plus a backup announcer for cable TV broadcasting of high school sports.
Additional costs may be also be involved in the sports programs. (A telephone message left for LBUSD staff by LBReport.com was not returned today.) Televising a school board meeting should presumably be easier and less labor intensive than a field sports telecast (among other things, a school board meeting doesn't require any announcers).
LBUSD already has its own dedicated cable TV channel (66) in LB. LBUSD, which will use channel 66 to telecast the school sports events, could use the same channel to televise LB school board meetings for LB residents.
L.A.'s school board has televised its meetings for many years. Meetings of the U.S. Congress, the CA legislature and the LB City Council are all telecast on cable. However, LB school board meetings are not.
The LB school board's voted actions were brought to light by 4th district activist (and mother of three school age children) Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, who discovered the item while researching school board activities.
Concerned that the LB school board would televise sports games but not its own meetings at which substantive school impacting actions are taken, Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp travelled to LBUSD's WLB headquarters and addressed the board at its October 16 meeting.
Noting that as a practical matter many LB taxpayers and parents could not otherwise view their own school board's actions, Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp urged the board to begin televising its meetings. Although her testimony drew no visible response from boardmembers at the time, the board's newest member, Suja Lowenthal, was impressed.
"She did a wonderful job," said Ms. Lowenthal, contacted by LBReport.com for comment today.
Ms. Lowenthal, elected to the board in April, 2001 after a campaign in which she supported televising school board meetings, said the issue is important to her and she believes "it's the right thing to do."
She commended Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp for making persuasive points, noting that televised board meetings encourage public participation, especially for people without transportation and for parents with children.
Ms. Lowenthal told LBReport.com she plans to raise the issue of televising school board meetings at a forthcoming board study session, expected to take place before the end of the year.
The LBUSD school board consists of five members, a majority of whom (three) could change current policy. A vote to televise school board meetings could not be taken at the study session but could be agendized for action thereafter.
Ms. Jeannine McManigal-Ball, who ran against incumbent ELB area school board member Karin Polacheck in 1998 and plans to seek the board seat in next year's election, told LBReport.com she strongly supports televising LB school board meetings and would vote to do so.
"I see no reason not to televise the meetings," Ms. McManigal-Ball said.