Denton ISD

Denton ISD's Dennis E. Stephens Central Services Building

Denton ISD stopped livestreaming its board meetings without any direct notice to the public in time for its meeting Tuesday night.

Four hours ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, no explicit notice, aside from the public meeting notice required by law, had been posted to the district’s website.

Denton ISD maintains a place on its website where other news, such as new hires, graduation ceremonies and public comment submissions for board meetings, are collected, but no mention of the cessation of livestreaming was included.

The district had livestreamed its meetings from its first prolonged campus closures in March 2020 until the most recent meeting ahead of Tuesday, which was on May 11.

Denton ISD previously recorded meetings that were held only in person and then would post those recordings online later in the week of the meeting.

Prior to the pandemic, in-person meetings rarely had more than a handful of non-district employees in attendance, and almost never for the meeting’s entirety.

In contrast, some livestreamed meetings brought dozens or hundreds of viewers.

When asked Tuesday why the district wouldn’t continue to livestream meetings, Derrick Jackson, a district spokesperson, said livestreaming had never been a long-term plan. He said he didn’t think cost was a factor in the move away from livestreaming meetings.

When asked how the district had notified the public, he sent a screenshot of “an internal memo” sent to staff and parents in May.

The memo, in part, notified employees that, effective June 7, mask-wearing would be optional, visitors would be allowed on campus and facility rentals would be available soon.

It made no mention of board meetings.

Jackson said the memo was an indicator that Denton ISD was returning to “pre-COVID conditions,” but there are several remnants of pandemic protocols that will continue into this next school year. The district’s planned virtual K-8 academy is just one such example.

He also pointed to the school board’s public notices posted online, which list the location meetings will be held.

Districts are required by the state to post such notices ahead of public meetings and are separate from the district’s school BoardBooks, which contain more information about the contents of each meeting.

Within the legal boilerplate for May 11’s public notice was an acknowledgment that the meeting would be conducted virtually. The notice for the June 8 meeting did not say the meeting would be held virtually.

Both public notices listed the meeting’s location as 1307 N. Locust St. in Denton, which is the district’s Stephens Administration Building.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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