QUESTION: What do you think about New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp.'s decision to stop broadcasting elected body meetings?

“Meetings should be broadcast so all know what goes on and how decisions are made, The public pays for the salaries of these elect from information received. There is too much secrecy and unexplained decisions when meeting are behind closed doors.”

— Sarah Spivey, New Albany

“I have watched the City Council meetings on WNAS in the past but was never sure when they were scheduled to air. If they are retained, where can one find a broadcast schedule? But more to the point, I was always delighted when I would happen across the broadcasts while surfing the channels.

“This is an important service to the citizens of New Albany. I do not see the broadcasting of City Council meetings as the equivalent of political cheerleading as the article suggests. It seems that the school corporation is confused or at best unclear on the nature and purpose of both City Council meetings and the mission of WNAS. There was dismally low participation in the primary election recently. Anecdotal evidence suggests our citizenry of all ages remains ignorant and apathetic to the workings of all levels of government. These two observations alone should lend great support to keeping the meeting broadcasts on WNAS.

— Kevin Peers, New Albany

“Completely and utterly correct. Insight should be providing us with a local access channel in addition to the educational access channel afforded the NA-FC schools, as local access is the proper venue for the governmental broadcasts in question. There is no compelling reason for the schools to become involved with something that certain elements of the citizenry are promoting for purely political reasons.”

— Roger A. Baylor, New Albany.

“Our family, along with all others in this town, granted our public access channel to WNAS or FCNA Schools. We believe it is government; and if necessary, steps should be taken to meet with the cable company and call for modifications to the agreement in order for "government" to be opened up in this town, of all towns. All meetings should be broadcast. I can go to any other major city, including Louisville, and watch all meetings I might care to enjoy. We wish they could have/would have realize the potential for more educated citizens (which might cause more voters to get out), and for our children to learn the importance of government.”

— Yvonne Kersey, New Albany

“Personally I can’t think of a better example of being overtly political than by restricting access to public meetings involving our elected officials. By limiting which to show or by refusing to broadcast them altogether, the school board is in effect doing just that.

“Not everyone who is interested in such has the opportunity to attend these events. Furthermore there would not be room for them if they did! These broadcasts are their best and in some cases only chance to see government in action.

“I also can think of no better way for students to see how the theory of our government really works than by attending and documenting on film or otherwise, how they are conducted!

“If the actions of our elected officials are not serving the public good, we need to know it in order to make changes at the polls. Should those actions embarrass others, so be it!

“I feel these broadcasts have served the general public well, have added a fresh insight to the students involved, and I disagree with the school boards decision!”

— Lloyd Wimp, New Albany

“While I understand the desire of the school district to not appear partisan and develop rules that would be fair to political figures regardless of their party, I don't understand the decision not to broadcast public meetings of local governing bodies.

“The broadcasts showing how local government operates should be educational for both students in the school district and citizens. If taxpayers are asked to fund the television equipment used by the students, why not get more bang for the buck, and have students broadcast these local public meetings. The students gain experience with the equipment, learn more about their community and how local decisions impact their world, and citizens win be having the opportunity to view the public meetings.”

— Steve Key, general counsel - Hoosier State Press Association

“In a time where governments, at least Indiana governments, are being told that they need to get more citizen involvement and education — and perhaps one way of improving this relationship is to televise your board meetings – I find it rather odd that the local school board decides that their regular business meetings are now politics. I do agree that airing political advertisements (like those with which we are commonly inundated weeks before an election on commercial television stations) is not the purpose of the Cable’s Franchise Educational Channel. I also agree that a fundamental purpose for the channel to exist is to provide the opportunity for students to create and broadcast programs.

“I regularly tune to Cable Channel 25 to see what is on the air. The number of times I only find automated ads, or grant publications I believe they are called, tells me that our educational channel is in need of more programming. The conduct of the school board’s business meeting does not seem to me to fall into the category of politics. I believe that airing those board meetings, as well as other local government board meetings would be very beneficial for the school’s television station, as well as the education and informing of the general public.

“Having stated this, I am the first to acknowledge this decision was not mine to make. My opinion is, however, that governmental board meetings on television is a good thing that should be encouraged.”

— Ken Griffin, Georgetown Manager

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