July 15, 2012
by Mariana Silva
Stow -- Up on a screen, not down in a stack of pages.
That's where those attending the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education meetings will able to see Board agendas and exhibits from now on.
"This is our first meeting using BoardDocs," said Dr. Russell Jones, superintendent for the school district, during a Board meeting on July 9. "BoardDocs is a paperless meeting and it will result in savings for the school district in terms of secretarial time, printing costs, [and] copying costs."
Starting this month, agendas and exhibits for the Board of Education meetings will be available online every Friday prior to regular Board meetings, Jones said.
The Board's Web page on BoardDocs can be accessed from the district's website at www.smfschools.org under the Board of Education tab.
According to BoardDocs, the company serves more than 600 organizations nationwide, by providing governing bodies with electronic solutions to process documents, agendas, policies and procedures.
Also according to the company, the process saves taxpayers money, reduces staff time, improves Board effectiveness, increases transparency in governance and has a positive impact on the environment.
Instead of looking at printed versions of the agenda for the July 9 Board meeting, the audience was able to follow the agenda through a projection of the website on a screen.
"We are also hoping that this will make what we do even more transparent than it already has been," Jones said. "This will allow the public to see the agenda from [their] home computer [...] and also supporting documents that will also be considered [by the Board]."
Treasurer Catherine Bulgrin wrote in an email that BoardDocs is going to cost the district $2,700 a year plus a one-time start-up fee of $1,000. She said that $5,928 a year was spent preparing the paper agendas, which included cost with staff hours, print and distribution.
The district's complete NEOLA policies are also available through the BoardDocs website under a separate tab. Board minutes will continue being posted on the district's website.
With the exception of Board member Rod Armstrong, who used his own computer during the meeting, each Board of Education member, Jones and Bulgrin were using an iPad 2 during the July 9 meeting.
Randi Lippert, technology director for the district, said the base price for each of the tablets was $379, $20 less than the regular $399 price for the Apple tablet.