New cloud-based software in use by Hays USD 489 aims to help board members with getting organized for meetings and offers features for the public as well.

The Oct. 21 meeting debuted the school board's use of BoardDocs meeting management software, which is designed specifically for school systems and community colleges. It allows for online management of agendas and accompanying documents, as well as other information.

Wilson declined to give the purchase cost of the software, until a final figure is available. USD 489 is using the “pro” version, which according to the company’s website includes automated pages for each board member, events and library management and real-time progress on goals.

Using the software went smoothly last week, superintendent Ron Wilson said. He brought the system to his previous district in Herington.

“There were some board members who weren’t able to get to the training so I was a little nervous about how it was all going to work, but it seemed to go for the most part pretty well,” he said.

“It’s way more user friendly in terms of being able to make adjustments to the documents as we’re getting prepared for rate meeting,” he said.

Previously, emails containing a PDF attachment were sent to board members, administration and members of the public who requested it. Any time documents were changed or added, another email and PDF was sent out.

The software also allows the board to electronically record votes on action items, which are then updated on the agenda item. Minutes of the meeting can also be posted on each item throughout the meeting.

The agenda is also indexed with links and has a search feature, making it easier to follow each item.

“It allows us to get to something right away instead of to scroll through page after page after page,” Wilson said. “There were several times I was trying to figure out exactly where we are because if you’re not scrolling at the same rate as the meeting is moving, you can get behind fairly fast.”

The public is able to access the agenda and minutes and can see the votes and minutes updated throughout the meeting.

“There’s an opportunity for the public to view and probably get more information than previously,” he said.

Any members of the public who have requested notification of board meetings under the Kansas Open Meetings Act will receive an email when new agendas are posted, Wilson said.

USD 489’s BoardDocs can be accessed at https://go.boarddocs.com/ks/usd489/Board.nsf/vpublic?open.