The Post (Sanatoga PA and The Pottsgroves)
February 15, 2016
LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Using an online delivery system to serve up Pottsgrove School District board agendas, accompanying materials, and research studies could reduce the district’s paper and printing expenses, make it more environmentally friendly, and better inform the public, members of the Board of School Directors have decided.
Directors recently authorized the district to spend about $9,000 a year for the services of Emerald Data Solutions, an Atlanta GA-based company that markets a product call BoardDocs. It uses a secure, web portal for what it calls paperless “governance solutions” in quickly distributing information that, until now, Pottsgrove committed primarily to print.
BoardDocs was in use at Pottsgrove before the board’s Jan. 26 buying decision, although as only a background application. The district earlier contracted with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) to host its school board policy manual online, and PSBA farmed that work out to Emerald Data. The result is available here.
Many surrounding districts have already added BoardDocs as a feature intended to help their directors and the public find and have access to current and archived documents. “We’re kind of the dinosaur in adopting it,” district Superintendent Shellie Feola said before the Pottsgrove board’s vote on the matter.
Directors themselves said they liked the added transparency BoardDocs could give to their deliberations, making some documents only they now receive immediately available to the public as well.
Saving money is an added but important bonus. Assembling board and committee meeting packets “takes a lot of time that we could be spending more productively,” Feola said.
BoardDocs could be in use district-wide within weeks, she indicated.