Local governmental bodies across the country are making the move to using electronic forms and document management strategies to realize organizational efficiencies and drive down the cost of printing materials.
School boards, which often have particularly heavy agendas and a membership that doesn’t necessarily work in close proximity to administrative offices, can realize some significant improvements through the use of paperless practices. Moving to the presentation of electronic packets instead of hard copies eliminates thousands of sheets of paper used each year. This also helps board members and administrators by allowing the easy searching of multi-page reports and proposals without having to manually locate a single piece of information.
Local news source the Gustine Press-Standard reported that the town, located in central California, recently adopted paperless practices for its school board members.
A comprehensive switch
The Gustine Unified School District trustees will use tablet devices, purchased by the school system, to view agenda items both remotely and at in-person meetings. This kind of set-up allows the board members to be more informed about what will happen ahead of time by allowing informational access at any point, including before the meeting. Previously, the members would have to pick up a packet or have it mailed to them to do effective research in advance of the gathering.
The board will also present material being discussed on a projection screen, reducing the need for audience members to use paper copies as well. Additionally, attendees can request electronic copies from the board’s administrative assistant.
District superintendent Dr. Ron Estes said that significant cost savings would be realized from the program and also highlighted the ease of use of the new form of informational access. Even with the additional costs of purchasing tablets, the board expects have a reasonable return on investment.
Ohio school board considering switch
More evidence of government organizations deciding to make a switch to paperless document management comes from Mount Gilead, Ohio. That city’s school board has also decided to go paperless and is listening to proposals from service providers, according to local news provider the Morrow County Sentinel.
Similar to the Gustine organization, Mount Gilead officials will gain several advantages from going paperless. Reducing the time spent printing, assembling and distributing physical meeting documents will reduce the busywork burden for administrative professionals, while board members will be able to more easily find specific pieces of information when using an electronic interface.