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Public will be able to stream videos of meetings

Web site aims to provide full and unrestricted access to business conducted by members

By M.K. Luther - mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Warren County Public Schools plans to provide online streaming video of School Board meetings in the coming months on the system's Web site.

Warren County Public Schools Director of Activities Buck Smith said that board members and school administrators wanted to make sure the public has full and unrestricted access to the business conducted at the meetings.

"We are trying to find another way to communicate what we do to the community," Smith said.

School Board meetings are currently videotaped and aired on Comcast's local television access channel 20.

"This way, if someone wants to watch it, they don't have to wait until that time -- they can just go to our Web site and click on the video streaming," Smith said.

The only cost incurred now for the videotaping is a $35 per meeting fee -- paid to someone operating the video camera. Board meetings are now held at the Warren County Government Center and are videotaped with county-owned equipment.

Smith said the transition would only require a converter and software, as well as a subscription to an Internet host server for the videos to be successfully posted online.

The standard VHS tapes of the recorded meetings will be converted to a disk and then formatted for viewing online, Smith said.

Smith said the equipment purchase decision was temporarily delayed because he wanted to make certain that the converter already used by the county could not also be used for the schools' purposes. Smith now anticipates the streaming video should be fully functional on the Warren County Public School Web site by early fall.

The estimated total cost for adding this service will be $1,000 for the equipment and $100 per month for an Internet host subscriber fee, said Warren County Director of Finance Robert H. Ballentine. The new online video will be funded from the existing operating budget, Ballentine said.

The Front Royal Town Council has already made the decision to air the council meetings on the Internet, Smith said, and the School Board's meeting video-streaming process will follow the same guidelines.

"I think it will be very useful and serve anyone who is interested very well," Smith said.

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