Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Education

BoardDocs information-sharing program considered by board of education

by JENNIFER WATERS
Editor

For the purposes of transparency, efficiency and environmental consciousness, the West Seneca Board of Education is considering using BoardDocs, a program designed to make sharing documents easier among the public, board members and district administrators.

A presentation on the many features of BoardDocs was given by its representative, Laura Vautour, during Tuesday night’s meeting

Vautour said the product is aidable through BOCES and is currently in use by more than 200 school districts statewide as an E-Gov partner, including the BOCES network.

Since its establishment, the program has seen a 98 percent retention rate, she added.

The program aims to eliminate challenges faced by boards such as limited search capability of online documents, preparation and formatting time, data security and customer support, and the manual process of creating and distributing hard copy documents.

As a cloud-based program, Vautour said BoardDocs offers top-notch data security and live support specialists who also provide hands-on training.

“You guys have already been using iPads for a while; you’re used to electronic ways. I don’t think the ‘fear of change’ will be a big deal for you,” she said.

Vautour said the electronic system provides a “quick and easy” way to create, manage and publish board documents, making it easier to be transparent.

“BoardDocs is the most experienced provider of board solutions out there,” she said. “We invented the category back in 2000 when a school district came to us and asked us to build a system to do their meetings online. That’s how this whole thing started.”

Vautour said document delivery will depend on the role of the user.

Board members will have private and exclusive view of documents with the ability to take notes directly in their copy of the files.

“These notes are private to the person who made them. That’s important because, as elected officials, we can’t allow discussion to happen out in the cloud somewhere,” Vautour said.

Members will have the added bonus of being able to reference the documents of any board across the nation also using the program’s MetaSearch feature. This feature could be used when comparison shopping before approving purchases, Vautour said as an example.

The public will gain a more accessible view of documents, including board agendas, addendums and supporting documents, with increased search capabilities.

Results of votes and the actions of the board will be included within final documents.

For the district clerk, the header on each document provides a head start on board actions, streamlining the filing of final documents and meeting minutes.

Within the program’s library, board members and the public are able to reference all actions on a given topic for quick reference through the search feature.

There is also a feature that would allow the board to integrate meeting videos.

Additionally, the board will be able to create its own database of backlogged documents, if it wishes.

New features are being added to the program constantly, based on board and user feedback, Vautour said.

email: jwaters@beenews.com

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