Lois Geschke, Administrative Assistant with the Clayton School District in St. Louis, Missouri, discovered BoardDocs at a NSBA conference in 2004 and brought the concept back home. The District decided to research the paperless board meeting movement in greater detail.
Paperless Agendas Not a Fad
Clayton is an established, thriving school district, steeped in tradition. “We have done our minutes the same way for 50 years. It took a while to convince our school officials and board that the technology of BoardDocs was not a fad. Clayton is very strong on tradition in many ways and very cutting-edge in others. After doing extensive research and talking to neighboring districts, we decided to move toward a paperless product. We think that BoardDocs is the future for all school districts,” Geschke said.
Geschke said that the District is committed to communication, and BoardDocs has the ability to provide District patrons full and complete access to board documents from the comfort of their own home. “The ability to access documents from any computer with Internet access was our number one reason for choosing BoardDocs. We can provide immediate, complete access for our stakeholders,” Geschke said. Members can select exactly how they want to see their information, while minimizing screen clutter. Users even have the ability to print the agenda, an individual agenda item or the entire packet with a single click!
Digital Audio Without the Red Tape
Clayton went paperless in January of 2006 and implemented the audio feature of BoardDocs that April. The District is able to imbed the recording of the discussion from each agenda item into BoardDocs at every meeting. “I love the audio feature. We used to tape-record every meeting, so we just hooked the digital recording machine to our P.A. system instead. Now, the community can see what is going on and they can hear what people are saying. I hit a button in between agenda items and that’s it. It is nice. After I am finished, I drop each sound file into the appropriate agenda item,” Geschke said. Geschke also commented that the audio feature makes producing minutes more accurate.
District officials at Clayton were also quick to point out that BoardDocs has many other features that have transformed the way they conduct business. They specifically like that they can revise board meeting agendas and give board members instant access to changes instead of printing and then delivering revisions. “I make the necessary changes and then email the board notification of the revision,” Geschke said. “It is so much better than before. Additionally, the search feature on BoardDocs allows easy, instant access to archived documents. We can do a search and the document comes right up instead of rifling through paper. It’s much more efficient.”
About Clayton School District
With a student enrollment of approximately 2,500, Clayton School District maintains a 13:1 or better pupil-teacher ratio. BoardDocs is an essential part of the District’s ongoing commitment to open communication and a transparent school governance process.