Price of transparency higher than anticipated

PW-S Board OKs as much as $27,760 for system to stream meetings
By 
Bill SCHAEN IV
OZaukee Press staaff

Making it more convenient for residents to stay abreast of what’s going on in the Port Washington-Saukville School District is turning out to more expensive than expected.

The School Board last week gave administrators the go-ahead to spend as much as $27,760 on a system — essentially a handful of cameras and microphones — to stream its meetings on YouTube.

A month earlier, Director of Business Services Mel Nettesheim told officials that she believed the cost of the system would be substantially less, but at a time when supply and demand issues are inflating the prices of many products, it’s difficult to predict what they will cost, she said last week.

“Some of the prices you see are a little inflated because of the times and the availability of supplies,” she said. “I feel like every quote we get back now is a lot higher than expected.”

The board chose the least expensive of the options it was presented with — a portable system with wired microphones, which offers flexibility and is more durable than ones with wireless microphones, administrators said.

Because the system will be portable, it will allow the board to stream its meetings from the conference room at the district office where it typically meets or a larger site in the district if additional room is needed to accommodate those who want to attend.

On that note, Nettesheim said administrators are recommending the board change its regular meeting place to the Lighthouse Room at Port Washington High School because it is larger.

Ironically, the recommendation came on a night people filled the conference room at the district office and spilled into the hallway for the beginning of the meeting. Most of the people were there to make presentations to the board on agenda items.

The district’s goal is to be able to stream meetings to YouTube by September.

Several area governments, including school districts, stream their meetings via the internet.

The district will pay for the system with federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund money.

The meeting streaming system is just one of several district initiatives designed to improve communication with residents.

It is also investing in a new website, as well as a content management system that will allow residents to not only view meeting agendas online but all the related documents that will be considered by the board.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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