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Published: Tuesday, 6/13/2006

TPS board uncertain of Net broadcasts

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two people, including one who ran unsuccessfully last year for the Toledo Board of Education, have been asking the district for almost two weeks to broadcast its meetings live on the Internet.

Christopher Myers, a University of Michigan Webmaster who campaigned for the board in November, and Kate Boyd, a Toledo parent who sends her children to private school, said they have received almost no response to their requests - which they said would be a public service and could deter some of the friction among board members.

"I asked the board about the possibility of allowing use of the TPS network to send the stream out," Mr. Myers said. "Apparently, [board member] Steven Steel had a concern about me wanting to hack into the student information system, which would be virtually impossible for me to do. And even though people might think it's a political reason, it's not."

He offered to monitor the video and audio stream at no cost.

Board President Darlene Fisher said she favors the idea.

"I know this is unprecedented," she said. "We could work through any of the legal issues. I do know there's more than one way you can do something."

Ms. Boyd, who suggested the idea to Mr. Myers because of his computer background, said she was disappointed with the school board's reaction. "I attended the May 22 meeting and witnessed the hijacking of the meeting, and witnessed some exceptionally bad behavior," she said. "If there was some transparency at the meetings, some of this behavior would stop."

Ms. Boyd videotaped the board's June 7 meeting and posted a video file at her Web site, www.toledopoliticians.com.

Mr. Steel said he is not against the idea, but questioned if it should be a top priority.

"I think it's fine. I am concerned about security issues," he said. "We have public meetings that are free and open, we have audiotapes available, and we have minutes to all the meetings, so it's not a priority to me."

Mr. Steel said he would have liked to see Mr. Myers' proposal include an aspect to instruct TPS students on the technology and have them operate the system.



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