The MCCSC School Board met last night, and for the first time ever the entire Board Packet (the agenda and all of the associated materials) was available to the public online before the meeting.
In December, they asked me to work on a system for them to manage the transition to “paperless” Board Meetings. I was impressed with their paper consumption, they showed me a stack about a half an inch thick, and said that right now they were producing about 90 of those stacks for each of their semimonthly meetings. One half inch times ninety copies times 24 meetings a year, that’s an annual consumption of a stack of paper the height of a nine story building! Well over a ton of paper, with a retail value of $2000 (@ $3.70/ream)! I’m all for reducing paper consumption, of course, but the benefits go far beyond that. Most exciting to me is the public’s access to information. Upcoming, recent, and (in the long run) historical information, all without having to leave your home computer. Democracy loves the Internet.
Needless to say, I was more than happy to work on the project for them. We agreed on the framework in December, I did most of the development in January, gave some presentations and got feedback in February, and March 4 there it is, available to the world. The public interface is nice enough, but most of my work went in to developing an easy way for them to prepare these documents. I’m pleased to say that Janet, the secretary responsible for preparing the Board packets, required almost no training and is excited to be letting go of the system that had been in use for decades.
It’s available from now on paperless.mccsc.edu. Try it out and let me know what you think!