The Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board is one step closer to the digital age.
During Tuesday's regular meeting, members voted unanimously to record future meetings and make them available with closed captioning.
The board originally considered livestreaming its meetings, but it amended the resolution to say it would only record them as a cost-saving measure.
Estimated savings are between $200-300 each month because the board wouldn't require live closed captioning services.
A $50,000 investment
The initial startup cost for the service is around $50,000, including cameras, streaming equipment and installation costs, according to Anthony Johnson, chief communication officer for CMCSS.
"With the decision to video record meetings and post online later, the district will need to reevaluate the logistics and necessary equipment and personnel to develop an updated plan and cost estimate," Johnson said, noting that the district does not yet know how many people it could take to make and post recordings.
Specific jobs include controlling cameras and adding the closed captioning.
"At this time, I do not have specifics on whether or not there would be increased personnel costs and/or adjustments to current job responsibilities," Johnson said.
One of the biggest factors in the board's decision to stream its twice-monthly meetings was convenience.
"One of the main reasons, really, for me is when you start looking at parents of our students, 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night is not really that conducive of a time to make these meetings," District 7 Rep. Josh Baggett said before the vote.
"The fact is, they're probably dealing with other things like homework, sports, clubs and dinner."
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Advocating for streaming
Baggett originally advocated for livestreaming the meetings, in addition to making them available for on demand viewing.
That option is still a possibility for later.
If the board decided to change to a livestreaming format, the district's attorney, Mark Nolan, said members could put the legislation on a future voting agenda.
Livestreaming offers more transparency about board action, Baggett said, noting that it's the true story of what happened at the meeting.
Videos, he said, can be edited or shown in chunks without context.
"It seems to me that there's been an increasing number of rumors that circulate this community in regards to the school district," Baggett said. " I, myself, was accused of missing a bunch of meetings and not voting on tough decisions.
"And if we had an opportunity out there for people to view meetings, I think my attendance and voting record speaks for itself. It'd be pretty obvious to see whether I was here or not voting on stuff."
Board members Jimmie Garland and Charlie Patterson thanked Baggett for explaining his views on livestreaming.
Garland was completely against streaming board meetings for a long time, but he has changed his mind on the matter, he said.
"I think that this is a time that we need to try this," Garland said. "Even if we don't keep it up down the years, this is something that we need to take into consideration seriously."
Patterson, who was also against streaming meetings in the past, agreed with Garland after hearing Baggett explain the benefits of streaming meetings. He initially thought recording the meetings would cut down on in-person attendance and speakers.
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This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools to record meetings after approval