Board Sets Rule on Videotaping Meetings, May Post Its Own

A gavel-to-gavel policy was requested from everyone on the board and the administration Jan. 12 during a special board meeting.

President Karen Powers asked that videotaping be allowed only during board meetings — and not before or after.

She requested a gavel-to-gavel policy — which means the camera can be turned on once the meeting officially begins and must be turned off once the meeting is officially ended.

Powers also asked that photos or video taken outside the meeting be destroyed.

"Do not videotape me in any other manner ... if you have an image of me [outside of the official meeting], destroy it immediately, take it off any website, social networking sites not in the course of the meetings," Powers said.

Her fellow board members, Superintenent Russ Jones and Treasurer/CFO Catherine Bulgrin requested the same. Board member Rod Armstrong said, "I don't care."

Donny VanOss has been recording meetings for months and posting them to YouTube and in the comments section of school board stories .

"I am a very concerned citizen of this great city, and feel that many do not have the opportunity to attend our Stow Board of Education meetings, due to conflicts of schedules. I have just started to videotape the meetings, so everyone can have the opportunity, to watch and stay involved with of wonderful schools," he says on . "These videos are for everyone to make their own conclusions and are in no way to criticize any of the meetings or the persons involved in the meetings. Please watch and make your own conclusions. Thank you for taking the time for being an involved citizen."

During the meeting VanOss agreed to Powers' request.

"No I don't have a problem with the gavel-to-gavel idea, I just feel it's more than that ... Monday night's meeting was really the first time I let it run over. I was asked by the person whose name was on the box of records that Ms. Bulgrin showed off at the meeting," VanOss said.

In December, , the board voted to disallow videorecording at that meeting.

"I filed a complaint with the [Ohio] Attorney Generals Office in Columbus," VanOss said in an email Jan. 1. He also said he is waiting to find out if the minutes from the Dec. 20 retreat, where the board voted to ban videotaping for that meeting, are approved during the Jan. 23 meeting at 7 p.m. at the.

Kent State News Graduate Coordinator and Professor Tim Smith said he isn't convinced any Ohio Sunshine Laws were violated, but it may be a violation of the First Amendment.

"I know of no prohibition in the law about videotaping or tape recording a public meeting. You cannot be disruptive with the process, but beyond that there are no grounds for an outright ban. I don’t know that it is a violation of the Sunshine Law so much as an illegal restraint in violation of the First Amendment — and a comparable provision of the Ohio Constitution," he said in an email. "As long as what you’re doing isn’t disruptive, it would be a form of prior restraint to ban videotaping, the same as it would be to ban taking notes."

Jones said the board banned videotaping during the retreat because it was not a representation of a board meeting that members wanted to share with the public. The same reasoning prompted last night's proposal. 

"The board's concern has been, and I think Mrs. Powers expressed that pretty well tonight, videotaping of public meetings of boards of education should be gavel-to-gavel only, should be all inclusive without editing," Jones said.

He said he has viewed some of the videotaped meetings and noticed some inaudible or missing parts.

Jones said he appreciates the videotaping because it offers transparency, but said the recording has to be a complete unedited account of the meeting. 

"I have never showed anyone on video doing anything wrong ... and posted it," VanOss said.

Jones said the district is thinking about posting its own videos on the school's website.

"We want to make sure any citizen in our communities who would like to see and hear at meetings, want them to see everything," he said. "We are exploring the possibility of videotaping meetings ourselves and posting them on our website as soon as practicable."

A student looking for video experience or who needs service hours would be the person doing the videotaping for the district, Jones said.

VanOss said the district posting its own videos would not deter him from continuing. 

"In my opinion, I think they want me to go away. Well I'm just not ready yet. This is my hometown ... I went to school here and graduated here and I have this gut feeling to protect this town from what is going on," he said.

Amanda Harnocz January 17, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Let's stay on topic, folks. and be nice, it's not just a common courtesy, it's also in our terms of use: http://stow.patch.com/terms
Lisa McLoughlin January 17, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Thank you, Amanda.
Samuel Garning January 17, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Whats great about conspiracy theories is that they're like a drug. The more time you spend trying to connect the dots the more you feel like your onto some great big secret that no-one else can understand. IB isnt trying to build a world community, now their trying to "create a oneworld government". IB isnt teaching about established scientific facts, now their "teaching Agenda 21" and using "Delphi" what ever that is. School board people arent good people trying their best, now their "tyrants" and "czars". The program hasnt been added to the schools, now it has been "introduced by stealth". Peoepl who don't believe the conspiracy stuff are "sheep" or "libtards" or have been brainwashed". And whatever you say is just more evidence that youve been brainwashed. A conspiracy theory just builds on itself in an endless loop and cant be stopped. I cant imagine the board would read any of this stuff on patch, but if your reading this, use your brain. If we cant afford it then fine. But all of this conspiracy stuff is just a bunch of balloney.
Susan Ruiz Patton January 17, 2012 at 03:47 AM
A user has been suspended for engaging in a personal attack and for creating a hostile environment in our comments. We want our readers to feel welcome. Consider these comment pages our living room. Behave as if you would if you were a guest in somebody's home.
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Jane, to your point about why a person with a six-figure salary would need to pay another organization, the analogy in business would be the CEO having actual staff to do the work, or bringing in Six Sigma to improve business efficiency. By your logic, if the CEO is making all that money, shouldn't he do the work and/or make the improvements himself? While the Superintendent has responsibility for steering educational policy, he's operating much like a CEO, and bringing in outside resources is, in and of itself, not unreasonable. I think the more important question is "are the costs for these outside resources reasonable for what you get for the money?" That's a fair debate.
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Karen, the opinion piece you linked to doesn't provide much evidence for the claims the author is making. For example: "The Diploma Program ties up the high school schedule and puts control in the hands of an outside authority since requirements are so strict there is little room to make changes to staffing, class offerings or etc." What's the evidence to support this? What does "so strict" mean? "Little room to make changes?" It might all be true, but the author needs to support his claims with evidence in order to make this a compelling case against IB. Until then, it comes off like a rant.
Ed Kent January 17, 2012 at 02:09 PM
As the first person who commented on this article I want to say that I'm not sure why the comments went off topic except that maybe because the issue of the controversial IB program, and it's future expenses to residents when it is expanded to all teachers, has not had an article to which readers could comment. For it to be addressed even under this article certainly shows it is something of importance to many. If the administration plans to expand the IB program training to all teachers then that's certainly beyond our current revenue capabilities. Our board will have to determine if our district's current revenue can support that. IB training will not get covered by federal funds in all the schools since most students in our district don't qualify for that kind of federal assistance. Can they impliment this plan and yet say they don't have enough money without cutting bussing and other things that impact parents (voters)? Is there a forum on another site that Stow and Munroe Falls residents can visit who want to discuss the IB controversy since it seems it won't get discussed on Patch if there's never an article about it? It may be better to discuss this elsewhere then here on Patch.
Frank DiGeorge January 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Ed, There is a facebook page to discuss IB in Stow, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/131485120282849/
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Jane, I think, too, the concern from those not quite so strongly anti-IB is the suggestion that if you don't hate IB, you are somehow less patriotic and less American than those who do. A suggestion that one doesn't love his or her country is sure to turn a rational discussion into a shouting match in no time. Sprinkle in some religion, and the shouting match gets downright ugly. Suggestions to the contrary, you can be positive or neutral on IB and still love your God and country. Regarding the value of IB as a course of study or program framework, let's assume that you're right. Let's assume that IB is ineffective and anti-American, that its methods are suspect and it provides no academic benefit. Why, in your opinion, are IB tests valid for credit at many major universities? Let's take Ohio State, just to make the conversation manageable. Assuming you're right about IB, and knowing that OSU does offer credit for IB coursework, then we can reasonably assume that... 1. Ohio State is incompetent, from an educational standpoint, or 2. Ohio State is apathetic about the IB concerns, and really just wants your money, or 3. Ohio State is a co-conspirator with IB and is, by extension, behaving in support of anti-American values. Do any of these options seem reasonable? If any of these were true, shouldn't we be protesting Ohio State and encouraging our children to avoid this incompetent and/or money-hungry and/or anti-American institution?
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 06:47 PM
So to continue your line of reasoning and my original Ohio State example, it would seem that OSU sees at least SOME value in IB from a purely educational standpoint -- as do you, by your own admission. That also negates the second point: that OSU is just out for the money, since they're losing money by giving you credit for their courses. But that leaves the third question unaddressed: why would an American university give credit for a program which teaches un-American values? And why would we support that university with our tuition dollars? Are they complicit in the propaganda conspiracy? Or, rather, do they (and many other universities) simply not agree with the charge of anti-American bias? I suspect it's the latter. Your points regarding the high cost of IB are well received, and I think that's a valid concern. But the concerns about the lack of pedagogical value and a systemic anti-American bias don't seem to be widely shared among subject-matter experts.
Ed Kent January 17, 2012 at 07:20 PM
There's a new video from pro-IBers on the homepage now, but it does not appear at this time that there is a way to comment on that video (no 'comments' button under the block). Anyhow, here's some interesting information from November 2011 records: The International Baccalaureate Program has been rejected after being implemented in 74 schools. Recent schools that have dropped the IB Program are: Coronado High School, Calif., Loara High School, Anaheim, Calif., Wilmer Amina Carter High School, Rialto, Calif., Woodland School, Cartersville, Ga., Zionsville Community High School, Zionsville, Ind., Apollo High School, Owensboro, Ky., Hillwood High School, Nashville, Tenn., Virginia High School, Bristol, Va., and William Fleming High School, Roanoke, Va. The Oct. 27 edition of "Education Week" reported in Idaho that "opponents have taken to the streets to publicize their concern that the IB Program is spreading an anti-American ideology in local schools … Similar controversies erupted in Utah in 2009 and Michigan in 2005, the AP notes." UN Agenda in Public Schools. There is blowback not only nationally but also internationally. Premier Gordon Brown abandoned the IB Program in the UK as being too expensive. The actual cost in the United States is difficult to ascertain according to many school board members.
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Jane, that American public universities who accept IB are either unaware of IB's anti-American bias, or that American universities know but don't care about IB's anti-American bias would, if true, be a damning indictment of the college system in the US. It begs the question "are IB-accepting universities incompetent, subversive, or both?" Again, I don't think the "IB-is-Anti-American" argument holds up under review. Plenty of other reasons to question IB, but this ain't it.
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 08:40 PM
If you consider the IB program a "luxury item," then you're quite right: it's not fiscally responsible. If, however, you consider it an investment toward continued American leadership over an increasingly globalized society (a process we encouraged and fostered, by the way), then the expense of the selected program is really small potatoes when compared to the costs of not being in the leadership role. Those are two valid perspectives on the IB issue.
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 08:47 PM
But if the whole of the community regarded AP as entirely adequate as an educational approach for the 21st century, then no sane person would ever consider any alternative. That's not to knock AP -- AP is a good program. But that doesn't mean that others are not good as well. Some might even prove better than AP. With respect to controversy, that in and of itself shouldn't discredit a change. Lots of changes -- big and small -- were controversial in their day, but are now considered accepted. Not all, of course, but many.
Ed Kent January 17, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Steve, how does our current AP program, which our teachers are already trained in, not help students prepare for doing business globally?
Steve Ferda January 17, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Ed, importantly, I am not arguing that. Rather, I'm saying that there must be some legitimate reason that colleges offer IB credit and that schools in the US are at least evaluating the IB program. If it's unquestioned that AP is the answer, why are some schools even bothering to ask the question? With the benefit of hindsight, we might one day look back and say "remember IB? What a boondoggle that was." But the fact that American educators -- decent, hardworking, and in many instances God-fearing people -- would be willing to consider, pay for, and implement IB, suggests that it must have some value, and that the concerns that IB is anti-American and/or anti-Christian are, perhaps, a little off the the mark.
Frank DiGeorge January 18, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Steve, Graduates get much more college credit for AP classes, Most colleges that do give credit for IB only give credit for the IB HL classes (2 year courses). http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/archives/ap-vs-ib.htm Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews is the nation’s number one IB proponent, co-author of Supertest: How IB Can Strengthen Our Schools, admits colleges give more credit for AP than IB, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2010/02/u-va_discriminates_against_sma.html Colleges most likely give more credit for AP classes because by definition they are college level classes. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html On the other hand, per the IB's website: "The IB programme fosters the knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable students to excel in university." http://www.ibo.org/recognition/ Compared to AP, IB is a downgrade. In this six minute video the vice principal from Reno High (WCSD) compares AP to IB. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBP3Yx-kDAI The vice principal states: "Very very clearly AP offers more college credit than IB. Universities by in large will give far more credit for passed AP courses than they will for IB courses. We did a little research and we can tell you that over 200 universities actively prefer the AP program over IB vs. only four universities that prefer IB over AP."
Steve Ferda January 18, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Frank, I agree with you on the credit count issue. My findings are similar. While I'm not an educator, my theory on the difference is that there is a one-to-one correspondence between AP tests and college credit -- that it's generally easier to equate AP tests with college credit (which themselves are often based on testing). IB's outcomes are more challenging to measure; it has a deeper focus on "how to learn." My sense is that this, among other things, is what gives people the sense that IB is a bunch of "happy talk" -- it's harder to measure the success (or lack thereof). But your point is well received, and parents should consider this. On the flip side, I've been chatting with a former Stow resident who recently moved into a district that happens to have IB, and she mentioned some recent "full ride" scholarships for seniors graduating with IB diplomas. I wonder though: Would IB in Stow mean the death of AP? My sense was that many schools with IB have both. Akron Public Schools would be a local example -- both IB and AP are available. It's not all or nothing.
Ed Kent January 18, 2012 at 06:34 PM
No, they would never get rid of AP, they just want to spend more money to have both and then say to voters that they don't have enough money for busing or other such things that directly affect parents and their votes in order to compel a vote for more taxes and larger budget. You know, it's not their fault they'll end up being required to spend property tax dollars on IB training for the teachers not in schools that can get some of the federal funds. Oh no, it's voters' fault that there will be a shortfall and voters' fault if the schools have to cut back on busing, all the while the IB spending goes on when we already have AP. I'm not against some of the methods of the IB way of learning, but based on what our district officials have repeated over and over, our district doesn't have the money. Based on the new levy our school budget will no doubt increase from $54,000,000 per year since the added revenue will allow for more spending, but enough for more IB training? If they have that much then I guess we're in better shape then what they've lead us to believe. Let's see what happens with this issue. It would almost be good news to hear they can afford more training for this new European way for more schools in our district so we'll realize they've got enough funds without asking for any new taxes. Many districts, that left the board out when implementing IB, ended up ditching it when they realized the true costs when it expanded.
Frank DiGeorge January 20, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Steve & Ed, In smaller schools IB usually pushes out AP. In larger schools both can be done. Keep in mind in 11th and 12th grade, schools must offer (10 classes) for IB students. So even if there are only a few students that want/need the class the school must offer it. This school has both IB and AP and 2200 students - they had scheduling problems because of IB. http://www.granitebaygazette.com/2010/09/15/ib-feels-growing-pains/ Some schools combine AP and IB classes. When this happens per the IB rules the IB course material MUST take priority, in other words, the IB ideology is forced on all students. How do you deal with families who don't support the ideology?
Ed Kent January 20, 2012 at 04:28 PM
How do families deal with it if they don't want their child in IB? They just take their kids out of the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Schools and either place them in a private school or into a homeschool program. We'll see a lot of that if this is expanded to more teachers in Stow and we'll eventually have less enrollment and that will mean less state funds coming to our district.
Amanda Harnocz January 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Hi Ed, right now, "Students enrolled in IB schools may be transferred to another school through the open enrollment process." — http://patch.com/A-l9qS
Maureen Adkins January 20, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Ed, one mother has 2 kids in IT, she wanted them moved, she was told the other schools were at full capacity, she would have to split them up and transportation was on her..and I get the transportation thing, but it's hard to be in two places at one time.. I just want to point out moving out of one school to another because of "open enrollment" is not as easy as one would think. And you need approval from the BOE, and state the reason why.. I did that when I put my daughter in Riverview instead of Echo Hills..
Amanda Harnocz January 20, 2012 at 05:12 PM
... first I've heard of this, thanks for letting me know Maureen. I'll have to ask about it.
Ed Kent January 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
What I was referring to was if/when they expand IB to all of our schools or even half in Stow then we'll see students being taken out of the public school system since there won't be a school that is able to take open enrollment if most all the teachers are IB and homeschool programs are getting better and better and of course the private school option. It's inevitable if we continue down the expensive IB road. Most of the schools will also not be able to get federal funds. But, if they do plan on the expansion of IB then I guess our district is in much better financial shape than what some have lead us to believe.
Ed Kent January 20, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Thanks Maureen for this information. I know one student who had moved here who was a senior and only needed enough credit from half a year to graduate, but they were told by Stow-Munroe Falls that they had to stay the full year. After they believed the district and stayed there for both semesters the student found out through further investigation they really didn't need to take both semesters. But, the district was thinking about the state funds they would make from having that student in for both semesters. It's amazing what goes on. That student, who had come in with a lot of credits, wasted a semester when they could have already moved on. It's hard for parents to believe everything they are told by the school district because of things like this being found out.
Maureen Adkins January 20, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Wow Ed.. want to hear another side of that, of course, not this school district but one near. We moved back from TN 11 years ago, my stepson was a Senior at that time. The school district didn't recognize most of his credits from TN, he would have to repeat his Senior year again. Well, with him turning 18 that Feb, (we moved back in Oct). he wasn't going to repeat his Senior year, he would drop out, that school district told us about the alternative school, even gave us the dollar amount the city school was not receiving, they didn't care about the money, they wanted him to get a diploma.. and we did too!! and he did within a few months. There are some districts who look out for the students, I wish ours did. I have thought about pulling my 6th grader out, if only I had the patience and time to home school. I am not in favor of IB, I want back to the basic education. They can also throw out investigations math. But that is a different topic. LOL
Maureen Adkins January 20, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I should point out, they didn't give us money, they told us the amount..
Ed Kent January 20, 2012 at 08:28 PM
The student I was referring to, which has gone on to a great career, came from a private school. But, due to moving into this area and other factors the family chose to send them to Stow's public system since the student should have only needed 1 semester to graduate. They already had their career planned and things were in the works, which got delayed due to the misinformation given by this school district. It was a huge difference for them coming from a private school to public. They basically felt like it was a walk in the park and simply had little challenge. But, at least the high school building is new and quite nice. Plus, Stow kids are known for being better mannered than some other public systems in Summit County. And, the teachers are friendly.
Maureen Adkins January 20, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I will agree with you on kids being well mannered. And my daughter has not had one teacher in the system neither her or myself didn't like. They have all been excellent! I am very lucky to have a child who loves school and she does very well. I'm glad to hear your friend dealt the semester issues and moved into a great career. I'm sure at times it was hard. I don't know what the future holds, only time will tell! Nice chatting with you Mr. Kent. I hope you have a nice weekend!!


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