— Meetings of the State Board of Education and the State Allocation Board—which convenes monthly in the Capitol to decide how state bond funds are allocated for public school construction and modernization—would be videocast live on the Internet and the cable California Channel under a bill recently introduced by Senator Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles).

According to the Senator's office, she called the first live webcast of the Allocation Board's meeting on March 25—even without a legislative mandate—"great news for transparency in education.

“The people of California have a right to know how their government is working, and we must use all available technology to let the people participate in public meetings,” said Romero.  “The next step is to use technology to enable public comment from remote locations.”  Her office adds:

SB 312, introduced February 25 and set for hearing on April 15 before the Senate Education Committee, would require the State Board of Education to provide for live video and audio transmission of all board meetings and hearings that are open to the public through cable television, webcast, or the existing K-12 High Speed Network.

“Greater public access to state board meetings will increase public participation in policy-making and result in decisions that are more responsive to what is actually happening in our schools,” said Romero.  “We must use modern information technology to make government more transparent and engage our students, teachers, administrators, and parents in the policy decisions that affect them.”

In addition to increasing transparency, live transmission of public meetings will result in cost savings for school districts that typically send staff to attend state board meetings in Sacramento, said Romero.

In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-23-06 directing increased state agency use of streaming video technologies to broadcast public meetings over the Internet.  On January 15, the State Chief Information Officer issued an information technology strategic plan that recommends better use of state technology to make government more transparent and increase the accessibility of government information.