Stow Patch (Ohio)
By Amanda Harnocz
July 9, 2012
The board will be paperless starting Monday and it's going to save some taxpayer money.
Transparency, some cost-savings and an effort to be more eco-friendly has prompted the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education to go paperless.
Copies of agendas will no longer be available at meetings, but it will be available with associated documents online on the school district's website prior to the meeting.
The board will also project the agenda onto a screen during the meetings.
The process of printing, compiling the packets, staff hours and distribution costs averages nearly $6,000 a year, according to the district.
The online availability of the documents is being taken care of by BoardDocs LT — a 100 percent web-based service.
The cost for the online service is $2,700 per year, with a one-time start-up fee of $1,000.
"We will be able to distribute documents associated with board meetings more quickly and efficiently, at a dramatically reduced cost to the district," Superintendent Russ Jones said. "This will provide added transparency for the public."
The Friday prior to each board meeting, members of the community can access the agenda and all exhibits which will give them an opportunity to review the items in advance.
"The remarkably powerful, easy-to-use solution will enable the district to maximize the effectiveness of their board meetings with increased transparency, providing a basis for better and more open communication with the public, while dramatically increasing productivity and saving of dollars," he said.
Not only will the agenda be available earlier than the day of the meeting now, but they will remain online.
"All documents associated with the meeting are automatically archived and can be accessed by meeting date or by using the system’s comprehensive search feature," Jones said.
This isn't only good for the public, but for the school board. Previously, agendas were printed and sent to board members as well.
"BoardDocs LT will increase the amount of time board members have to review agenda information, enabling them to better prepare for meetings. Under the old paper system, the meeting packet could not be distributed until every document had been prepared, submitted and approved. Once all the documents were submitted, staff members would typically spend two days assembling the documents into packets before distributing them to the board members," a district press release stated. "Through the MetaSearch feature, board members will also have access to best practices from other districts that are using the system, allowing them to gain important knowledge about initiatives other boards have considered and implemented."