Tampa, Fla. – (June 19, 2017) – The equipment in the School Board Auditorium will undergo a retrofit in July and as a result, the School Board meeting scheduled for July 18, will be held at the district’s Instructional Services Center, located at 2920 North 40th Street, Tampa.
Hillsborough County Public Schools has been airing all School Board meetings for more than 20 years. The ability to air these meetings live, and in their entirety, along with closed captioning, is part of the school district’s dedication to transparency, ensuring the decisions of elected officials are made open to the public.
For those who cannot attend School Board meetings in person, the live telecast and archived meetings provide an opportunity for community members to stay informed on educational issues involving their children and community.
Some of the equipment in the School Board auditorium dates back to the 1980s and is so old that it is no longer supported by the manufacturer and the parts are not available for purchase. There are problems with sound and with the ability to have a continuous live taping. The district has lost the livestream to viewers on several occasions.
This information was presented to the Board by the former Superintendent on January 20th, 2015 and the board room equipment retro-fit was approved. The Board approved Encore Broadcast Solutions for the purchase, installation and repair of TV studio equipment, including camcorders, microphones and sound systems. The total cost for technology upgrades and other expenses is approximately $336,000. This includes $266,504 for the equipment which was purchased in December of 2016 and approximately $70,000 for demolition and labor costs. The majority of funds will come from local millage dollars. All decorating advice and decorative products were donated.
“We have come to a point where the monitors could stop working any day and the public could be without the ability to watch televised meetings for months. We need to get ahead of that likelihood so that the transparency of the Board discussions and decisions will always be in the forefront” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins.
The decisions made in the School Board auditorium impact thousands of peoples’ lives. It’s where millions of dollars in school budgets are rejected or approved. It’s where students and teachers are recognized for outstanding achievements and where parents, teachers and community members come to share comments with their elected officials. The board room is where generous business partners are thanked and it’s also where innovative ideas to improve education are debated and discussed.
The agreement to air School Board meetings with the cable franchise has been in place since 1987 and is part of a Public Access Television franchise agreement per the Cable Act of 1984. TBAE is part of the basic package for cable service.