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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What was the cost of the budget vote video?

Question: As a tax payer after viewing the Budget Video, I felt as though our Administration and BOE, by making this video had misappropriated tax payer money to make the video and as a tax payer I find it uncomfortable that it seemed as though the video made an attempt to politicize our school budget process - was this all legal, and I would like to know exactly how many people did I pay to give input on the video, how many people did I pay to make the video, and how much did it cost all together, given time and resources to make the video and get it on the BP Website?

Answer: The script for the video was written by the communications specialist in collaboration with the superintendent of schools. The communications specialist used the free, online software program Animoto to create the video. ( The music used was downloaded from a royalty-free music site at no cost. The photos used are photos that have been taken throughout the year by the communications specialist, who routinely documents district events. The video was posted on the district website by the Webmaster. The video was edited, produced and posted on our website with no additional cost to taxpayers.

-answered by Monica Lester, Communications Specialist


  1. With comments like this, I can easily see why the board would consider getting rid of this forum.

  2. No cost to taxpayers? Really? How much does the communications specialist make and is she really needed? Hard to believe that a teacher would be cut before a communication specialist would be cut.

  3. The forum can be eliminated but the truth remains - BP funds too much FLUFF!

  4. Why would they consider getting rid of it? Is it that they don't want to hear what the public has to say? Bad enough they already screen all the comments and only post the ones that make them look good.


    Commenter: Please do your research before commenting. Read the above for how much the comm. specialist makes, the answer said no additional cost was involved, not that there was no cost.

  6. Ed Szumowski, Board of Education Vice President8:03 AM, May 09, 2011

    First of all, we had a discussion about the effectiveness of Plain Talk during a recent BOE meeting. This begs the question: effectiveness in doing what?

    The whole reason for the existence of Plain Talk is that the district wants to have a better dialogue with the public. We understand that people have busy lives and can't attend all the meetings to be informed about all the issues surrounding the district. Plain Talk can serve as a place where people could get information straight from the source, rather than from hearsay.

    During this discussion about how effective Plain Talk has been we tried to take an honest look: Are people reading what's written? Do people even ask us questions? Is it worth the expense to reach this number of people? These seem to be reasonable questions to ask, don't you think? The whole point is to expand the quantity and quality of communication with the public. If it's not working then responsible adults ought to acknowledge this fact. The BOE chose to continue this effort because we believe that it's still worthwhile. The point of the discussion wasn't whether to get rid of it for some sinister reason.

    As for screening comments: these are tough decisions to make. Sometimes questions that are submitted have already been answered in previous posts. Repeating the questions and answers can clutter things up. Sometimes the submissions sent in aren't questions at all. Rather they're insults to individuals or groups and defeat the purpose of Plain Talk - these won't be posted.

    We are attempting to find ways to communicate important information about the school so that the citizens of the Broadalbin-Perth School District can make informed decisions. It's our strong desire to gain your informed consent for actions taken. The volume of information to convey and the fast-changing nature of the world make this a difficult task. This task is made more difficult when people assign malicious intent to every conversation held and action taken by the BOE and administration. Your suspicion means we have failed in our efforts so far. We intend to keep trying.