For any public body, being able to reach as many constituents as possible when discussing public’s business should be a top priority, something to strive for with each new technology.
Technology has enabled us to make greater connections with each other even as it has the potential to make some more insular. For municipalities and school districts, technology has opened vast portals for communication with the public, a seemingly never-ending menu of ways to share information.
Both East Hampton and Southampton towns have taken the initiative to develop websites that serve as local hubs for public information, including streaming and archived video footage of public meetings, agendas, important public documents and service announcements. Access is increasing with each year and while there is always more that can be done, both towns—and in particular Southampton—have at least shown a commitment to reaching a wider audience by making user friendly, content rich sites.
The Sag Harbor School District has made its own strides online, showcasing important documents presented at school board meetings, as well as the general information one would expect from a school district website. We would encourage the district to look to expand the reach of its board of education by offering streaming and archived video of its meetings and work sessions.
Streaming and archived video online of all board meetings will result in a more educated district when it comes to the issues, philosophies and initiatives being explored in Sag Harbor. We believe it will raise the level of conversation, and enable those unable to tear themselves away from their families, second jobs or other commitments the ability to truly engage in the business of the district.
This will elevate our discussions, not take away from them and we would strongly encourage the board take action on this sooner rather than later.