The board will be looking at bids for a new recording system at a later meeting
ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for its regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. following their 6 p.m. Closed Session.
The minutes for the Oct. 18 meeting and the Consent Calendar passed unanimously.
Superintendent Tom Butler addressed the board on the administrative business of Board Meeting Broadcasting and Recording.
“We have had a number of people in the community inquire about recording or broadcasting the meetings, and so we have an update for you on that,” stated Butler. “Also, I wanted to call your attention to that at this point, what we would be recommending for the trustees to consider is that if you want to go this direction, we would initially start off with ultimately broadcasting it and recording it but not having it as a live interaction platform.
“I think, initially, staff would be recommending we get all the infrastructure in place, should the board approve it, and then we have the ability to record it and then broadcast it, but that does not mean live interaction through that medium. So if they [the public] wanted to make a public comment, they would have to come here or outreach to the board through email and different mechanisms.”
The initial quote for the new broadcasting system, not to be confused with a series of bids, is $103,000. That includes current and updated audio/visual equipment to bring the boardroom up to par.
“That’s a quote, not a competitive bid. We decided to go that direction,” added Butler. “We’re talking about doing this for the long haul with the right quality stuff.”
Assistant Superintendent E.J. Rossi explained that during the height of the pandemic, the district spent $500 to stream and Zoom the meetings with three broken iPhones, a couple of tripods, and a box. He went on to say that even though it seemed to work, logistically, it was a nightmare. While many other districts in the area upgraded their AV systems, AUSD made do.
“Some of the struggles we run into are [that] the last time any AV was touched in this room, aside from adding the TVs, was 30 years ago,” said Rossi.
The wiring, microphones, speakers, and the rest of the equipment are from the early 1990s. Rossi said that the controller for the multiple HDMI cables is the one piece of equipment that would carry on into the new system.
“The new system would incorporate one camera that would capture the board and a camera that would capture the speaker,” he added.
The new AV system would also change out the wiring and provide new wireless microphones. Rossi went on to say that it would be a one-time purchase.
The board, when looking at the proposed item, debated whether or not they would want an interactive element, via Zoom, with the streaming audience. The overall conscience was that they would like it as an option in the future.
“I just wanted to make it clear for the trustees, what we have in front of you right now, should you approve it, would be that we’ll go out to start to procure the necessary audio and visual technology,” Butler said. “If that is a number that falls below the bid threshold, then that’s something that Mrs. Martin can work with Mr. Rossi on and identify appropriate funding sources and get it to begin to happen. If it is above that threshold, then we have to go out to bid, and we can do all that correctly.”
The 2022 bid threshold is $99,001. And Butler stressed that though zoom and a two-way system is not included in the item, that the first step is to procure the technology, and broadcasting one-way would just be the first phase and that the board could include a two-way system at a later date.
“Well, I would make a motion that we move forward with getting bids for this and then bring it back to the board for discussion once those bids come in, and also that we include making sure that there a possibility to do Zoom with the system that we choose,” stated Trustee Tami Gunther.
The motion passed unanimously.
The Atascadero Unified School District’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.