Just months after halting the practice because of compliance issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Laguna Beach Unified School District board members decided this week to move toward live streaming their meetings with closed captioning.
Though no official vote was taken, the consensus of the board Tuesday was to lay the groundwork to start streaming with captioning — an effort that will include purchasing new boardroom hardware such as microphones, camera accessories and a backup recording device at an estimated cost of around $50,000.
District staff will bring back recommended equipment contracts for the board to review at its Aug. 27 meeting. Staff will return at a later date with recommendations for a live typist — which would carry an estimated cost of between $10,000 and $20,000 per year.
The school district board halted its live-streaming service in May, when it discovered that the videos were not ADA compliant because there was no closed captioning.
“I watch City Council meetings, and I think that’s the expectation [to live stream],” said board President Jan Vickers. “Even if there’s a price tag that’s fairly hefty, I just think that we need to go that way.”
The district conducted a community survey over the summer so people could voice their preferences for how to access board meetings. There were 243 responses.
“The information gleaned ... was that we need a variety of things to provide the community with information,” said Leisa Winston, the district’s deputy superintendent of human resources and instructional services.
Since suspending the live stream, the district has recorded board meetings and posted the videos to its website and YouTube, where they can be viewed with closed captions. The board will continue this practice until contracts for new hardware and a live typist are signed.
The board first voted to live stream its meetings in 2015, as a way to increase transparency.