The Washington School Board held its first paperless meeting Wednesday night.
“I was really pleased with how well the meeting ran,” Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer told The Missourian.
“Going paperless is something we’ve talked about for a long time and it’s a move in the right direction,” she added.
Board members participated in a training session Wednesday before the regular meeting began.
VanLeer said a trainer with the company the district purchased the software from conducted the workshop to help ensure a smooth transition.
Some board members used their own laptops or tablets, while others utilized district computers. Other than the software, the district did not purchase equipment for board members.
This past October, the school approved the purchase of a new electronic management system — BoardDocs LT, a web-based service which posts all relevant documents online.
School officials said the move to a paperless system will reduce paper waste, labor and delivery costs of the large packets sent out each month to board members.
VanLeer said supporting documents can now be linked to all agenda items, providing a quick, easy way to access additional information.
“Board members and staff also can do searches to look up previous minutes or look at board policy while the meeting is going on,” she said.
The system provides a means of immediately publishing and revising agenda items which is a big advantage, VanLeer said.
More than 40 school districts in Missouri currently utilize BoardDocs, including large school districts in St. Louis such as Parkway, Francis Howell and Ladue, as well as smaller ones like St. James and Nixa.
The annual cost for the LT version of BoardDocs is $2,700, and there was a one-time start-up fee of $1,000.
VanLeer said the system is very user-friendly, and will allow board members to access the information from any mobile device, at any time. The general public also will have access.
School officials said this new electronic system for the board goes hand-in-hand with the district’s much broader technology initiative for students and staff. A focus group has been meeting to develop and implement a plan for a 1:1 (one student to one tablet/laptop) type of program.
Some printed board packets were available Wednesday night.