LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid school board may consider going paperless to save money.
At Tuesday's school board meeting, Kevin Kerr led a presentation on converting to a "paperless board of ed," which he said would save both time and money. Kerr is managing coordinator at the Albany-based Northeastern Regional Information Center, which works with the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) and Champlain Valley Educational Services to provide technology services to school districts across the North Country.
Kerr said that because the Lake Placid district already pays for a finance management program through the Capital Region BOCES, it can get access to a paperless board of education website at no additional cost.
"You get these paper board packets," he said, referencing the large binders that school board members bring to every meeting. "I noticed that lots of you carry around lots of paperwork with you. The concept of this paperless board of ed site is, someone like (District Clerk) Karen (Angelopoulos) ... would scan in your board packets; they would go into what's called an OCR - optical character recognition - PDF format."
The site would cut down on the amount of printing district officials have to do before board meetings. Kerr said it would also make it easier for board members to reference older documents since the website can archive them and includes a search function. Instead of bringing binders to a meeting, each board member could bring a tablet device, like an iPad or Kindle, or a laptop.
Board members would still have the option of printing documents.
Kerr said NRIC has set up a sample site for the Salmon River school board. The Chateaugay school board is already using the paperless site, he said.
The site also includes a calendar function.
Kerr said his organization would provide training to board members. It would involve one 45-minute session. For district employees like Angelopoulos, who would be responsible for maintaining the site and uploading material, training would take place over two three-to-four-hour sessions.
The public would also be able to access the site, Kerr said. Sensitive documents that need to remain confidential can be locked so only board members can see them, he added.
School board members seemed open to using the service.
"I think it's great," Janet Smith said.
Kerr said it would take about two weeks to set up the site. The board will review how other school boards in the area are using the service before it decides to move forward with it.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.