Monthly Archives: August 2015

Audio/Visual Streaming of Board Meetings Voted Down 1-4

Anyone who speaks to me for more than two minutes knows how passionate I am about Hendry County. Being a third generation native, my roots run deep and so does my sense of personal responsibility to influence the changes I feel are necessary to help our county be the place I know in my heart it can be. (Man! I get choked up just writing that last sentence.)

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m transparent. Painfully transparent at times. That’s why I write this blog. I feel like the District 4 seat isn’t just my seat…it’s OUR seat…and I write and post on social media to take you along with me on this journey I’m so blessed to be on as YOUR school board member.

I made a motion at the July 14 board meeting to spend $16,753.98 to further the goal of providing transparency and accessibility to local government more convenient to students, parents, employees, and tax payers. I moved to install an audio/visual system in each board room to record board meetings and make them accessible 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection. The vote was postponed to the July 28 meeting.

At the July 28 meeting, I made an impassioned plea to fellow board members to make this one time investment. I cited the benefit it would be to students studying civics and government. I cited the benefit it would be to our HCSB employees. I cited the responsibility we had to the public to make our meetings transparent and accessible. Despite support from the Hendry County teachers union (HCEA) my motion was voted down 1-4 (I was the aye vote) citing that it was the board’s consensus that it didn’t directly affect student achievement.

Immediately after my motion died, it was moved to spend $11,741.98 to install audio systems so people who physically attend meetings could hear us better, as well as provide an improved audio recording for those who choose to request a copy of these recordings from the district.  That motion was passed 4-1, with Basquin voting nay.

I offered to personally pay the $5,012 difference to upgrade to include video recordings. I offered to fund raise to cover the difference but ultimately had to walk away from my original goal of online video recordings because the original motion was voted down.

I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.”  You can count on me to never lose enthusiasm for this job and those I serve. That’s something I can guarantee.

I’m pleased to report that I was nominated by Vice-Chair Sally Berg to serve as an alternate representative for Hendry County on the Florida School Board Association Legislative Committee, and unanimously approved by my colleagues. Mrs. Berg is the current representative. I enthusiastically look forward to learning and growing from this opportunity!

There’s a meeting tonight (8/11/15) in Clewiston at the sub-office building. A workshop on academic improvement begins at 5:30 pm with the regular board meeting following at 6:30 pm. School Board meetings are open to the public and I’d like to personally extend an invitation for you to attend.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your school board member!

~ Stephanie