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Virtual full house: School board meeting reaches cap of 300 online

Officials at Warren County School District expected a good turnout.

The cloud-based meeting platform they selected handled the 300 people who virtually attended Monday’s school board special meeting admirably.

“I’m really impressed with the amount of people that are on,” board member Marcy Morgan said regarding the effectiveness of the meeting. “I think it’s gone well tonight.”

However, the system did not accommodate those beyond the 300 who may have wanted to join.

Superintendent Amy Stewart said district officials did not intentionally set a cap at 300 for participation in the meeting. They believed the client would be able to handle up to 500.

She said alternatives will be considered for hosting future meetings.

The meeting is not the only way the district is receiving information. “I’m getting a lot of very good communication from our employees and parents,” Stewart said. “I don’t know anybody who has the answers right now.”

“It’s like trying to sip water out of a fire hose,” she said. “There is only so much we can tackle at a time. Prioritizing is how we’re looking at it.”

Before the board meets again, officials hope to have some way to accept comment without “hijacking” the meeting.

That could mean members of the public would be given a number to send text questions to.

Committee members could sift through the texts related to their committees and pass the best along for board consideration.

And, if the situation gets out of hand, just like comment at a regular public meeting, whoever is in charge, a committee chair or board officer, could shut it down.

“If there are too many and it becomes something that hijacks the meeting… the law doesn’t require us to allow the meeting to be hijacked,” board member Arthur Stewart said.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 13.

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