HAMMOND | The School City of Hammond Board of Trustees is joining several school districts across Northwest Indiana in going to paperless board meetings.
Board members are using laptops at their meetings, using a web-based program called "BoardDocs" to access the information they normally get on paper. Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins said the new initiative will replace the old and costly method of compiling, printing, binding and distributing paper agenda packets by hand.
He said it will provide increased transparency, more open communication with the public and dramatically increase productivity while saving thousands of dollars annually.
"We wanted to be fiscally responsible," he said. "We were using exorbitant amounts of paper. The board members have wanted to do this for a while."
Of the five school board members, two were provided laptops, Watkins said. He said the other three members preferred to use their personal laptop. Board members had two days of training last week on the BoardDocs web-based program. Watkins said members used it for the first time Monday night, and there wasn't a glitch.
The program allows board members to see agenda and other items online. The process also allows members of the public to view some of the information online prior to the meeting through the district website at www.hammond.k12.in.us. The public will still be able to access other paper documents on request based on public access laws. The meeting is also videotaped and posted on the school district website.