All Kudos to Dr Overbo, Superintendent of the Glen Rose School District, for ensuring that there is audio done of school board meetings and also posted on the GRISD website, here If you live in Glen Rose, whether you have children attending the school or not, what happens at board meetings can affect us all, since most of us pay taxes for the district, and, more overarching, because hopefully we all care about good public education and want to be informed. What, though, if you are unable to attend a school board meeting but wish to not just read about it, or parse an agenda, but hear what was said by school board members about various items? Being able to look at an agenda and also listen to the meeting is an excellent way to keep informed and including helping make a decision on who to vote for in an election based on their comments at a meeting. Personally, although I hadn’t paid attention to the meetings for a while (covid threw me off), there was a particular topic I wanted to know about and wanted to hear the discussion about why the board voted in favor of it and was surprised to find that the audio was not available online nor by doing an open records request to come hear it at the admin building or have it available via email or on CD. I asked Dr Overbo about this and he very quickly and efficiently researched the issue and decided that the audio would be back online after the January 22, 2024 meeting. And he has lived up to his word, for which I am grateful.
On December 6, 2023 I did an open records request to the school
At one time in the past for at least 5 years, GRISD maintained an online place in the board section on GRISD website for audio recordings of the board meetings. No open records request was necessary, except for a couple of times when it went down or needed updating for something specific I wanted to listen to. That link, at the time, was https://blog.grisd.net/wp/boardoftrustees/ I can’t seem to find that section on the GRISD website. I am wanting to listen to a couple of board meetings and would like to access them online. If this is not possible or the previous policy of having them online for the public to easily access is no longer being done, I would like to know so that I can do open record requests asking for audio of some meetings. Frankly, seems to me that having them online and accessible is a better solution that benefits the entire community.
Got back a reply from the admin dept (actually 2) on December 7, 2023
Glen Rose ISD does not video record our board meetings, however as previous stated we do keep minutes for all meetings posted online for you to review.
I then wrote to Dr Overbo, Superintendent of Glen Rose ISD on Dec 7, 2023
In the past, GRISD has recorded, on video, every school board meeting and has also put audio from those videos online so that others could listen to meetings. Doug McClure was the one in charge of all this at the time and was extremely helpful with both recording the meetings as well as having the audios available online. I used to regularly and easily listen to meetings pre-covid and asked this last week to Open Records Request where these online resources were and have been told that neither audio or video is available anymore, not even through open records. I would like to verify with you that this is the case, the GRISD no longer uses the excellent equipment available in the board room to record meetings, that in order to get a recording, a parent or other citizen needs to attend the meetings with a camera. I would like to request that you, assuming the above is true, return to making recordings of meetings available for citizens to watch or listen to. Here are some reasons why
- Especially for a school district in which presumably students are being exhorted to appreciate open government, it behooves the district to act on good open government principles.
- Other government entities in Somervell County not only have minutes and agendas posted but include audios. Somervell County, for example, has the audio section on its website http://www.somervell.co/county-offices/commissioners-court/court-audio/?eeListID=1&eePage=0&eePage=0 Somervell County Hospital District records its meetings and puts them on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/GlenRoseMedCenter/videos
- Somervell County Water District includes audio for meetings as well as minutes http://www.scwd.com/meeting-detailsfinancial-transparency.html City of Glen Rose includes audio for meetings https://www.glenrosetexas.org/meetings/recent – In all these listed places, the audio and/or video is easily available for those who may have missed a meeting to be able to be informed citizens.
Dr Overbo wrote back the next day on Dec 8, 2023
Thank you for reaching out with your question. I did some research, and you are correct. I was unaware of the history.
Yes ma’am, we would like to be consistent with our other local government meetings. Therefore, beginning in January we will be posting audio along with the minutes on the GRISD website. Thank you ma’am for bringing this to my attention.