Observers panned a poor quality livestream of a joint meeting between the Jersey City Board of Education and the city council last night, preventing anyone from following along at home in real time.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
The meeting convened at the Hank Gallo Community Center at Lincoln Park in Jersey City and the public school district noted that they would be streaming the event on their Facebook page.
However, things didn’t go according to plan, as a Wi-Fi hotspot connection was spotty at best and led to consistent delays and interruptions to the roughly 90-minute conversation.
“The entire meeting IS being recorded … Obviously the signal out of this new location in Lincoln Park, either by way of the hotspot or County Wifi is just not consistent enough to maintain video or audio transmission,” the JCPS wrote in a comment on the Facebook stream.
“We will run the entire meeting on JCETV Tomorrow night at 6 PM. It will also be on-demand at JCBOE.org.”
As of this writing, the full recording had still not been made available online.
The Gallo Center, which the county owns, was chosen as a neutral meeting place for school board trustees and the city council.
“Ugh. This is nonsense. I can’t sit and watch a frozen screen with spotty to no sound. Such a shame. No one did a test beforehand? Aarrgghhh,” Helen Doyle Lynch wrote.
“Hope y’all know that FAILED miserably here with this meeting. And y’all just keep on with the meeting as if y’all just don’t care if we’re able to see it hear it. Because we CAN’T! This entire time it’s been freezing! We cannot even see a snip of it!!,” Tania Natal added.
Some also questioned if the meeting actually met the Open Public Meetings Act since the stream didn’t work properly.
“If the meeting is not seen publicly via video but is later shown as a recording, does that meet the state guidelines regarding open public meetings? There is a reason why these meetings have to be posted 48hrs prior, so the public can watch them the day of the meeting,” Rafael Augusto asked.
The idea of a meeting between school board and city officials came up on March 17th, when the BOE narrowly approved their preliminary $814 million budget that will come with roughly a $1,000 annual tax increase per homeowner, as HCV first reported.
The district is already operating under a significant deficit and are bracing for $100 million in state cuts next year after getting slashed by $71 million this year.
Several trustees have argued that both the city and the state haven’t been holding up their end of the bargain, a sentiment some shared on social media.
“If the board has one shred of dignity, they would say, “this is your problem, stop underfunding our schools and living off of the poor homeowners while the developers prosper and our schools suffer” and walk out,” Sali Ali wrote on the Facebook feed.
“You should reschedule this meeting in a place with workable Wi-Fi,” noted education activist Brigid D’Souza, a member of Jersey City Together.