Community Press (Cincinnati, OH)
September 28, 2011
By Forrest Sellers
ANDERSON TOWNSHIP – Residents will soon have an opportunity to follow developments at a Forest Hills Board of Education meeting online.
The district has hired a company called BoardDocs to provide an online service in which meeting agendas are posted on the district website and then updated in real time.
Residents can follow online how board members vote on resolution items during the course of a meeting.
Superintendent Dallas Jackson said one significant advantage of BoardDocs is it’s a paperless system.
Instead of having to reprint an agenda if there is a change or correction revisions can be made online.
It’s streamlined and simplified the process, said Board President Randy Smith. It provides more flexibility, he said.
Board members can also use BoardDocs to access information and take notes during the course of the meeting. The board members will use their own personal computers to access BoardDocs.
For those attending a school board meeting, the agenda will be posted on a screen behind the board members.
Some of the board members, though, did not want to totally abandon the traditional roll call vote in lieu of simply clicking “yea” or “nay” on their computers.
“I want the interaction,” said board member Julie Bissinger.
Board member Rich Neumann agreed saying the public wants “officials to express themselves.”
Smith said roll call votes will still be done vocally, and the transition to BoardDocs will be gradual.
Some board members also worried about privacy issues and whether information such as personal notes would be posted online.
Dawn Adams, an implementation specialist with BoardDocs, said certain information would be password protected.
Meeting minutes will also be posted online.
The initial start-up cost for BoardDocs will cost taxpayers $10,600 and include training on the new system. Yearly renewal will cost taxpayers $9,600.
The school board will begin using BoardDocs at its October meeting. Susan Monk, secretary to Jackson, said online postings of the meetings in real time will likely occur within the next few months.
The Forest Hills Local School District website is www.foresthills.edu.