Agenda management systems utilize technology to serve as vital resources in improving productivity for your school board. Agendas are the main, critical piece of any school board meeting and having support in the creation, development, and management is imperative.
The need for accuracy in information, privacy, and security is vital in any agenda management system. Errors varying from a misspelling to more serious mistakes such as distributing an inaccurate or outdated version of a report to board members or the public are potential risks due to rushed deadlines and busy schedules. There are tools which can help, like an agenda management system that features an enhanced process for creating and distributing an agenda. To best leverage this type of resource to improve productivity and efficiency for your school board, it is important to understand what an agenda management system is and how this system relates to your school board’s exact needs.
Agenda Creation Management
A general starting point for any agenda management system is automated agenda creation. The idea is to prepare an organized, well-presented, and efficient agenda. Utilizing BoardDocs, a cloud-based agenda management system, you can easily and quickly create an agenda based on a template that meets your board’s specific needs.
An agenda management system, provides support and simplicity in the development, management, and distribution of school board meeting agendas.
To build an agenda with BoardDocs, you simply create your categories and agenda items and the platform will automatically number the items according to your preference. The software also supports the creation of “draft meetings” that authorized users can view before a meeting and the agenda’s release.
You can simply activate your board’s agenda to make the information available through BoardDocs’ portal for your school board. During a meeting, use the software to have the public follow your meeting agenda. Before or after the meeting, the community can access all public documents and materials through your board’s site.
BoardDocs supports all types of attachments and these documents can be attached to specific agenda items. School boards can upload an unlimited number of attachments to each agenda item. It also features scheduling, distribution and integrated annotation features. The annotation function allows authenticated users to categorize and manage their own notes.
But, effective agenda management systems need to also simplify the process of taking meeting minutes. With BoardDocs, a Diligent brand, school board members can vote online and your board can track the action or motion, who made the motion, who seconded the motion, and how each board member voted. Your school board can then automatically share results with the public.
BoardDocs supports video and audio management. So, if you record your school board meetings, you will be able to tag and manage videos. These videos can then be accessed through the tag in the agenda or meeting minutes.
Using Agenda Management Systems for Compliance with State Open Meeting Laws
Open meeting laws forbid underhanded, clandestine meetings in hidden, secretive rooms where corruption is the intention of the meeting-holders. Most public servants would agree these meeting laws are necessary to an effective and transparent democracy.
However, many “secret meetings,” do not take place in hush-hush locations or are held with devious objectives; some violations are not intentional, at all.
What if two board members meet for lunch and discuss board business? They could form a quorum, which would put them in violation of open meeting laws. Or, sending an e-mail to board members to discuss an upcoming agenda item? This could also be a violation of open meeting laws.
School board members can open themselves up to the possibility of being criminally sanctioned for an open meetings law violation. It is delicate territory, not to be taken lightly. School boards must be held accountable to the public constituents that they serve.
Every state within the United States has open meeting laws that applies to its state organizations the same restrictions and limitations that the federal “Sunshine Act” puts on federal agencies.
These regulations specify that any time there is a gathering of a group of people who have the power to vote on public business, the public constituents have the right to hear the deliberations and to see the votes.
The public community must be notified of the meeting prior to the meeting (the exact amount of time regarding notification prior to the meeting will depend of the state) and records (like meeting minutes) of the discussion and votes must be made available to the community.
These open meetings laws vary from state to state, so it is important to be abreast of the current laws that regulate your district and to stay aware of any changes to those laws.
The agenda management system that your school board utilizes should assist and support your board in complying with these meeting laws.
Leveraging an online agenda management system, like BoardDocs’ cloud-based services, your school board can post notices of upcoming meetings, agendas, and any related documents ahead of meetings in accordance with your state or local policies.
Agenda Management Systems Provide Privacy and Security
An ideal agenda management system should have privacy and security as a top priority. When taxpayer funds are being used, it is imperative that information be handled delicately.
BoardDocs, a Diligent brand, allows for school boards and administrators to customize privacy settings. Specific documents, goal-related plans or materials, strategic plans, and other information can be customized for public, administrative, and school board member viewing. Other customized settings are available, as well. This ensures and promotes transparency, as public constituents are kept informed. But, specific information that should be kept private can be protected and maintained.
Utilizing an agenda management system that is cloud-based is helpful as materials, information, and documentation can be updated and managed from any device. Agendas, meeting minutes, and related documents can all be searchable through keyword searches, but any documentation (like contracts or proposals), that should not be public can be managed by the board and administrators.
Agenda management systems are useful for school boards as they assist and support agenda creation, compliance with state open meeting laws, privacy, and security. These resources and tools can be vital to school boards as they work toward their goals.
When leveraging an agenda management system for your school board, it is important to keep in mind the various features of the system and how they will directly relate to the needs of your board. Understanding the features and how your board can best utilize them will increase efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness.