Dist. 300 school board moves into ‘21st century’ with iPads for meetings
By Emily McFarlan email@example.com July 10, 2012 8:00PM
Updated: August 12, 2012 6:39AM
ALGONQUIN — When Michael Bregy came to Community Unit School District 300’s Central Office two years ago, transitioning from principal of Jacobs High School to superintendent of the district, he really wanted the board of education to move from paper-and-PDF board packets to iPads, he said.
He didn’t think the board was ready then, Bregy said. But Monday evening, as board members signed into a new software system on the tablets at a special work session, he said, “We’re more than ready now.”
“I’m very excited about moving into the 21st century and in a direction that won’t just benefit us as a working board but the community as well,” he said.
With the iPads comes BoardDocs, a system that will streamline the way board agendas and packets are created and minutes are recorded. That will increase the Carpentersville-based school district’s efficiency as “we are short-staffed with support staff,” Bregy said.
And the superintendent said he also is interested in increasing transparency to the District 300 community.
The community will be able to view agendas and all attached documents on the district website before each meeting and view video of individual agenda items afterward. The system also will help guests follow along during meetings, flashing agenda items and board members’ votes on screens in the board room at the Professional Development Center at Westfield Community School in Algonquin.
The school board has been paperless for about three years, Bregy said. Previously, several hundred pages of board packets — “almost a ream of paper” — were printed and delivered to board members’ houses, said Linda Keyes, administrative assistant to the superintendent.
More recently, Keyes has scanned paper and compiled some PDF files of board meeting agendas and related documents, then posted them online, she said. Board members have viewed that information during meetings on Netbooks.
Neighboring Elgin School District U46 has used BoardDocs for about three years, U46 Chief of Staff Tony Sanders said.
The District 300 Netbooks now will be used in high school science classes, and the new iPads cost about $5,600 — $700 for each board member and the superintendent, Bregy said. The district still is “working on a price” for BoardDocs as it reviews which features of the system it needs, he said.
The school board plans to debut the iPads and new system at its next meeting 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 23, at Westfield, 2100 Sleepy Hollow Road.