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Morris Area School Board votes for paperless meetings

The Morris Area School Board voted to go paperless for future meetings by purchasing five laptop computers for board members to use for school board business at their meeting Monday night in Donnelly.

The council accepted a bid from Mobiz for a total of $3,970 for the five laptops and the software needed for board members to view each monthly agenda and supporting materials.

Superintendent Scott Monson estimated that the district spends about $98 per month on staff time, paper and postage to provide printed materials for each meeting for a total of almost $1,200 annually. Using his estimates, Monson said he thought the cost of the laptops would be recouped in about four years.

"One way or the other, we're going to spend the money," said board chair Kurt Gartland. "Over time, I can see efficiencies."

Board member Stan Wulf, who currently uses a laptop at meetings, said his experience going paperless gets "better all the time."

"At first it takes a little while ... but what I like is being able to much more quickly reference back to something from a previous meeting," said Wulf.

"I think it will make us more effective and more efficient," said board member Dick Metzger. "I think we'll be better prepared and have more time to review things ... there's a lot of ways this will benefit us."

Board member Brent Fuhrman asked whether it would be possible to share the laptops with the school, since board members would probably only use them a few days a month, but no agreement was reached on that discussion.

The school would also retain at least one paper copy of the board meeting packet for records and provide printed copies for anyone who requests one. The district will also need to draft an acceptable use policy for board members to complete.

The rest of Monday's school board meeting will be recapped throughout the week and collected in this Saturday's Sun Tribune.

For more information visit the Morris Area School Board website.