Frederick County School Board Approves Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget

But there’s no funding to stream and record School System committee meetings.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – An operating budget for fiscal year 2023 totaling $882.8-million was approved Wednesday night by the Frederick County Board of Education. It’s $33.4-million above maintenance of effort.

But what wasn’t in the budget generated some discussion. Board Vice President Sue Johnson said she couldn’t vote “in good conscience” for the amount of money proposed for streaming and recording School System committee meetings. . But she encouraged her School Board colleagues and staff to look at ways on a “grass roots level.” to make sure committee meetings are recorded and are accessible to citizens.

“It’s dawned on me that even during little league baseball games you can bring an I-phone and live-stream games. That’s something I’ve been doing on my own. And yet we seem to have difficulty getting our committee meetings recorded,” she said.

Board of Education meetings are already streamed and recorded for the public to view.

Board member Jason “Mr. J” Johnson recommended using a laptop to record each meeting which he said “was really lost cost.” But fellow Board member Karen Yoho had some concerns. “I think one of the problems that you’re not thinking about is that’s fine C and I, Curriculum and Instruction Policy {which meets} during the day. It’s when it’s all of our committee meetings, many of them in the evening. They don’t have the staff to cover it,”: she said.

“Mrs. Yoho, that would take one laptop, aimed at the dais or aimed at the table, and just set to play,”  Johnson responded.

Another member of the Board of Ed, Jay Mason, said staff may be necessary to record these committee meetings. “When you’re sitting in the room, sometimes it’s not easy to just hear each other as you’re sitting in the room,” he said. “It would require microphones to make sure all the words are heard, and people aren’t just hearing bits and pieces of what somebody is saying. It would take an additional staff member to be here to man the microphones.”

Not everyone agreed on how to stream and record committee meetings, but Board Member Liz Barrett said there was consensus that these meetings should be recorded. so that citizens can watch them. “It’s just trying to make it happen in a way that is efficient and high quality and can get out to everybody so it’s accessible,”: she said.

No decision was made on this issue.

In other action, the Board of Education  approved  artificial turf, food and nutrition, self-insurance and capital budgets, as well as the Superintendent’s Recommended Educational Facilities Master Plan.

By Kevin McManus