SD2 board talks facility plans, paperless agendas

2012-06-04T22:14:00Z 2012-06-10T22:08:37Z SD2 board talks facility plans, paperless agendasBy ROB ROGERS The Billings Gazette

School District 2 trustees are looking at ways to save paper and money, and Monday night they discussed the option of switching from paper to electronic agendas.

They also discussed the bids from various companies looking to create the district’s facilities master plan.

And they voted on resolutions to send to the Montana School Boards Association that could be lobbied for in the next state legislative session.

All of it was done with the board acting as the performance monitoring/stakeholder relations committee and planning and development committee.

Hoping to improve transparency, waste less paper and spend less money, trustees looked at creating a paperless agenda and board packet that would be available to all in an easy-to-use format on the district’s website.

The agenda for each meeting is usually accompanied by a dense packet of supporting documents — sometimes more than 100 pages. At the end of each week before the board’s Monday meeting, 30 of these packets are sent to trustees, administrators, union officials and others within the district.

The cost to do so is roughly $17,200 a year, said Karen Palmer, the district’s IT director.

“That’s a conservative estimate,” she said.

If the district moved to an online, paperless model, it could use a company that would generate the agenda, its accompanying packet and post it to the district’s website at a cost of $5,000 a year.

The packets would be fully searchable and easily accessed by section.

Those without Internet access would still have the option of requesting a hard copy from the district office. That wouldn’t be a problem, said board Clerk Leo Hudetz.

“If we cut (those 30 copies) down to 10, we’d be way ahead,” he said.

The board will take up the issue again at its regular meeting June 18.

One of the resolutions trustees voted to send to the MTSBA was a call for more equity in state school funding. Trustees — along with the other large school districts across the state — hope to push for more equitable funding between the state’s small districts and its large ones.

The funding method, known as basic entitlement, pays out the same lump sum to each school district in the state.

Big districts with multiple schools — SD2 has 22 elementary schools, four middle schools and three high schools — receive the same lump sum as districts made up of only one school.

At the June 18 meeting, the board will also look at the companies that have submitted a bid to conduct the district’s facilities master plan.

The facilities master plan would include every building in the district and outline a course of action to maintain and repair each one over the next decade.

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