Rhinebeck school board investigating paperless meetings

Officials to evaluate electronic options based on both cost and convenience

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The Rhinebeck School Board is investigating a possible move to paperless meetings in the future, if it would be more efficient, easier and not overwhelm the bottom-line, school officials said.

“Today our [bound paper] packet weighs, I don’t know, a pound and a half, two pounds. It’s 8 1/2 by 11. I can carry it around, I don’t need a battery supply and I can read it in good light,” said Paul Slayton, vice president of the board. “I think we need something that approximates that.”

Slayton and school board clerk Margaret Todisco are taking the lead on the project, which follows a pilot project earlier this year that used reconditioned laptops. Todisco is responsible for compiling the paper packets that are currently in use that contain reports and documents relevant to the meeting agenda.

“Once we settle on the evaluation criteria… we’ll go look at two or three different alternatives and come back and show you how those alternates stack up against the way we do it with paper,” Slayton said.

According to Slayton, a number of the available electronic options they are aware of cost thousands of dollars annually just to license the software. Hardware, networking and training would all cost even more.

“Don’t be surprised if we come back and say, ‘You want to go paperless, here’s a solution… but we’ll be an order of magnitude off on price.'” said Slayton.

Board President Dierdre Burns is looking forward to the results of the study.

“I’d like to see us hash this out, because maybe this is possible,” said Burns. “Maybe there are other sources of funding, if we decide to go through with this.”

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