Boards meet to discuss projects
In an effort to collaborate and save funds, the Jenkintown Borough Council and the Jenkintown School Board held their first meeting to discuss joint cooperative initiatives Aug. 27.
While borough council and school board members were gathered in the community room at the Jenkintown School District building on Highland Avenue, Borough Manager Carolyn Hanel and Assistant Borough Manager Christopher Bashore outlined projects they believed would be of minimal cost to both the borough and school district.
Bashore proposed the idea of a community video he said would help improve communication between community members, the borough and school district. Bashore said CGI Communications Inc., the company they would like to work with, will create video clips that will run 60 to 90 seconds.
Hanel said welcome, education, real estate and relocation, quality of life, community service and economic development video clips are ones they hope to create and link to the borough’s website.
Hanel said CGI has done videos for local municipalities. During the meeting, the school board and council members reviewed video clips of a municipality that CGI has serviced.
“The community video will be of no cost to the school district and the borough,” Hanel said. “It will be funded by sponsors.”
Hanel said advertisements will sell for A1,395 to A5,485.
School board member Maya Cheek asked if the school board or the borough will have a say in what advertisements would be linked to the videos.
“I don’t think the school district should advertise cigars, liquor and guns,” Cheek said in reference to advertisements she noticed circling the community videos they reviewed.
Hanel said the company will solicit advertisements from inside and outside of the borough. Although, the school board and the borough won’t be able to choose the advertisers, Hanel said the company does a good job of matching advertisements with video content.
School board member Patty Castner wanted to make sure the videos did not make promises the borough and school board could not keep.
“I wouldn’t want the video to say that you will fill 50 percent of our vacant store fronts and you don’t,” she said. “I don’t want us to get into dangerous territory.”
Bashore said he and Hanel will be involved in script writing for the video and content won’t be used in the video unless approved by the borough and the school board.
In addition to the community video, Bashore asked the school board to consider a public access channel with either Verizon or Comcast cable providers.
Bashore said the cable provider would have to be contacted 120 to 180 days in advance to provide a channel they will have total control of. Bashore said Verizon sets aside two channels, one for governmental and the other for educational programming; however, regardless of which provider they choose, both the school board and borough council will have the opportunity to broadcast their board meetings live.
Hanel said both providers offered non-commercial channels except for public service announcements and slide show advertisements the borough and the school board provide. The channels will also run weather and traffic reports, she said.
“We have looked at other municipalities who have these channels and were amazed at how many people watched them,” Hanel said.
Jim Cummins, director of technology for the school district, estimated the project to cost in the range of A10,000.
“How much do we really need this?” Castner asked. “I receive website notifications, I get the Times Chronicle in the mail and I have [access] to the websites.”
Borough Council President Allyson Dobbs said this was something that council was considering and wanted to bring it before the school board for further consideration. Dobbs added that the borough wants to do everything it can do communicate with its constituency.
The board and council members also discussed ways they could access open space grants for the school district. Dobbs said the borough could get grant money for the school, but is unable to do that unless the borough controlled the land.
“Certain open space, development and facility grants have to go through the borough,” said Hanel, when contacted following the meeting. “For these particular grants the borough could go into a 20-year leasing agreement so the school board can acquire those funds.”
The school board and borough council agreed to hold another meeting in late October to continue brainstorming project ideas.
Dobbs said she would like to make meetings between the borough and the school district annual.
“We want to make sure doors of communication are open,” she said.