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Sunnyside School Board directors go paperless

The Sunnyside School Board has gone totally paperless, using a program called board docs to help save money and time.

The board of directors had been musing going paperless since the fall of 2010 and the idea was implemented in February of this year. The program being used is called Board Docs.

"I love it, I really do," said Sunnyside School Board Director Steve Carpenter.

The move is estimated to save $10,200 a year in materials and labor, according to Sunnyside School District spokesman Curtis Campbell. That number will shrink when the $8,400 annual cost of the program is factored in, but the school district is still recording savings of almost $2,000 a year.

Beyond the savings is the convenience and environmental factors of having a paperless system.

Campbell said before the system was implemented board directors had to shuffle back and forth through papers. Now the directors only need to click a button to view the documents.

"My first six months on the board I filled up an entire filing cabinet with papers," Carpenter said.

Carpenter is stepping down in November and said it will be nice to just hand over his computer to his replacement.

"They'll have everything right there instead of me having to load a filing cabinet in the back of my truck and delivering it," he added.

Campbell said the new system is more transparent, as well. The public can log on to the school district's website and view all the documents the board of directors views, except for documents pertaining to executive sessions.

"I think it's great," Campbell said. "I love the transparency. You don't even have to go to a meeting to get documents and you can see the voting online."

Both Campbell and Carpenter agree that conservation is also a key factor in the decision to go paperless. The time saved is also important.

The school board meets approximately 30 times a year. It is estimated that staff spends 300 hours a year copying, prepping and mailing documents out.

The amount of paper going out was both astronomical and expensive.

The training for the new system was light. Staff preparing the documents spent two days learning the new system. For the board of directors, the learning time was just a few hours.

Fiscally, Campbell said the benefits outweigh the start-up costs of the program.

The school board is also talking about purchasing a video camera so meetings can be recorded and put online.

"That's the direction we're looking to go, but we just barely started talking about it," Campbell said.

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