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Helmut Schmidt, Published June 25 2013

Fargo School Board plans to air meetings live on TV

FARGO – The Fargo School Board is getting ready to take a shot at becoming must-see TV.

The board voted 9-0 Tuesday to spend about $47,000 in the coming year to buy equipment and air board meetings live on television.

There was no timeline given for when the broadcasts would start, or on what channel or channels they would appear.

The board plans to work with the city of Fargo in using its fiber optic data line for the broadcasts, board documents said.

The cost for a multicamera system, high definition/standard definition capable fiber transceivers, nine boardroom microphones and a new digital audio system to replace an antiquated cassette tape system is estimated at $42,730.68.

Another $2,000 may be spent on remodeling the boardroom to add a door and window opposite the entrance to create a room for the audio equipment and its operator.

Staff costs are estimated at $810 for Internet technology staff and $1,320 for a part-time position to operate the system.

Board members rejected a cheaper single camera system that would have meant a tape delay of the broadcast.

Estimated equipment costs for that system were $11,590. Personnel costs were the same as the more sophisticated system. No remodeling costs were included in the estimate.

The city of Fargo is in the process of upgrading cameras and some of its equipment.

The district is keeping in touch with the city to be sure its components will be compatible with the city’s upgrades, board President Jim Johnson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583