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School Board to move downtown

The Morris Area School Board held its May meeting in Morris City Council chambers and liked the venue enough to switch its regular meetings. The board's meetings will be recorded for cable-access broadcast.

By Tom Larson

Sun Tribune

The Morris Area School Board found the acoustics and video recording equipment in Morris City Council chambers to its liking.

Once scheduling issues are resolved, the board is expected to meet regularly in council chambers and have meetings recorded for broadcast on local cable access channels.

"If we can open that line of communication to the community, why not?" said School Board chair Kurt Gartland.

The board's May meeting was in council chambers, and board members and some in attendance said it was much easier to hear the discussions. Gartland said a recording of the meeting also turned out well.

The board for many years has met regularly in the Morris Area High School Media Center, a room designed to dampen noise. It was often difficult for the audience -- and even board members -- to clearly hear each other. The board at various times also discussed purchasing equipment to record meetings for cable-access broadcasts.

The city last year had the council chambers wired for video and sound and meetings have been broadcast.

City Manager Blaine Hill said he will work with Superintendent Scott Monson on sharing the equipment, and Steve Jungst, a Morris Area student who has been recording council meetings, also will be helping the district.

Potential scheduling conflicts will need to be addressed, Gartland said, noting that the School Board meets several times at 4:30 p.m. during the winter months so that people can attend meetings and school events without having to drive to different locations.

The change will require getting information to the public about the venue change and the possible inconvenience to staff and those wishing to attend meetings, Gartland said.

"There is that issue, no question about that," he said.

But the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, he said.

"Once (the board) gets comfortable with the taping and the sound, I think it will work out well," Gartland said.