Clintonville to continue livestreaming school board meetings
Some lawyers recommend against it
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville School District will continue to livestream its school board meetings via YouTube, but will explore other options for streaming them.
The decision came at the school board’s Nov. 28 meeting.
Superintendent Troy Kuhn told the board that Lindsay Norder, the district’s business manager, attended a human resources conference in Madison, and one of the presenters told attendees that if their district livestreams its school board meetings via YouTube, the meetings will be on YouTube forever. This would allow people to copy and paste items from the meeting, and possibly manipulate things from the recordings.
He added that the presenter stated everyone in a district should be aware of the implications of livestreaming via YouTube. Kuhn said he didn’t care either way if the district continued to livestream the school board meetings.
“If we don’t do it, I would recommend that we continue to record them anyway and just make them private, and not necessarily public,” Kuhn said.
He added that if the district recorded it meetings and didn’t make the recordings public, residents could obtain a copy of a recording through an open records request.
Norder clarified that it was an attorney who presented the information at the conference.
“They actually made the recommendation that if school districts were still livestreaming and leaving it out there, that they consider not (doing that) because it is a liability for, more so you as a board than anything else,” Norder said. “Because they can manipulate what you see out there.”
School districts choose various approaches
After reaching out to other school districts about how they handle livestreaming board meetings, Kuhn said there were many different ways that other districts handle livestreaming.
“Some are going to continue to do as is. Some people are just going to do Google Meet and allow board members to remote in,” Kuhn said. “It’s all over the board of what other districts are doing, just so you guys are aware.”
Board President Ben Huber said he likes the openness of meetings that livestreaming provides.
Board member Glen Drew Lundt said he did a lot of research on the topic and said he acknowledged that lawyers are recommending against livestreaming meetings.
But he said he doesn’t see a lot of lawsuits taking place with board members.
“With the way the report card is and everything else going on (in the district) I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by taking anything away at this point,” Lundt said. “And there’s some really good articles out there about reasons to keep promoting it. The increase in accessibility, community engagement and reference materials.”
Board member Larry Czarnecki said he thinks the district should continue to livestream board meetings because of transparency.
Lundt added that some lawyers suggested against archiving the livestreamed meetings on a third-party website, and instead put them on their district’s website.
The board agreed the district should gather more information before it considers any changes to livestreaming its board meetings.