By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Board of Education online meeting that was scheduled for Monday night was postponed after numerous attempts to get it underway on a solid footing failed, and it has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. this evening.

According to Board President Andy Burchfield, the meeting was adjourned a short time after it began due to major technical issues. Burchfield told WHMI after the adjournment last night that the “tech team” would get together to solve the problem by today (Tuesday). The Brighton Area School District is currently without a technology director since former director Chris Turner retired on July 31st after seven years with the district. Burchfield said the district is actively searching for a replacement for Turner. Those who tried to join last night’s meeting online were immediately greeted by loud noises, interference and distorted audio.

The district had attempted to add a second Internet platform for the meeting in order to allow as many people as possible to participate due to complaints registered at the Aug. 8 presentation on the new Brighton Virtual Academy. The complaints were made at that time because of the limit of 300 Zoom participants (299 virtual attendees and a host), a limit reached by the time the meeting started, with many more parents wanting to join the session but unable to.

Below is a statement by the Brighton Area Schools on the rescheduling of the regular Board of Education meeting for tonight, with instructions on how to join it online:
The August 10, 2020 Brighton Area Schools Board of Education meeting was POSTPONED to TUESDAY AUGUST 11, 2020 at 6PM and will proceed online in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-48. Public participation will be available through our electronic platform.

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Interim Superintendent Laura Surrey issued a statement on social media explaining the technical problem and stating every effort would be made to ensure that the same problem doesn’t happen at this evening’s session;

“Dear BAS Community,

I deeply appreciate the gathering of our community this evening to review and comment on our Return to School Plan. In our sincere attempt to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend the meeting, we attempted to use two platforms, Google Meet and Zoom. In earlier tests today, the plan seemed to be a good one. However, when all participants joined in, the system would not allow our hosts to navigate effectively. The technical difficulties we experienced forced the Board of Education to choose between an Open Meeting Act challenge as participants attempted to navigate through the two platforms and the inconvenience of rescheduling.

While I will speak candidly and say that I am disappointed that tonight's meeting did not go as planned, I do think the decision to reschedule was the right one. All of us are anxious to finalize our Return to School Plan, but we need to do so in a way that supports public comment and clear communication for all.

Participation in the Board of Education meeting tomorrow [August 11 at 6:00 pm] will be exclusively through Zoom. We will be prepared to conduct the meeting to allow for a maximum number of participants. We will also record the meeting for later viewing. Instructions on the use of Zoom, and the ID for the meeting, will be available on our district website.

To enter the August 11th (6:00pm) Zoom Meeting, click on the following link:
Again, I apologize for any inconvenience this evening may have caused.”