Boardroom technology has become a cornerstone of ongoing success for any governing body. Applying technology such as paperless meeting software enables school boards to accomplish more with less, all while complying with rules and regulations unique to public-facing boards. Paperless meeting software, also known as a board portal, is the hub of boardroom technology that streamlines each aspect of board activity from meeting management and minute-taking to boosting public transparency and following good governance practices. School boards that spend too much time and money making board packets by way of manual, paper-bound processes prevent themselves from reaching their full potential. Being bogged down by tedious, traditional methods rooted in paper not only significantly slows things down, but also jeopardizes the security of a school district’s sensitive data. The same is true for boards using insecure file-sharing applications to facilitate easier collaboration. Though these apps might serve a temporary purpose, they make school boards even bigger targets for cyberattacks and hackers and put them at increased reputational risk.
School boards of directors are also usually tied to tight budgets that leave little room for needed upgrades to boardroom processes. What board members often fail to realize, however, is that by investing in the right board management software, they are actually saving more money, more time and protecting the natural environment all at once. Paperless meeting software brings efficiency to otherwise tedious and cumbersome tasks while also eliminating the outdated and wasteful use of paper-bound processes. Finding a boardroom technology solution that best answers the needs of the board and the district at large is critical to ensuring long-term efficiency and board effectiveness.
Before boardroom technology became a part of the picture, school board meetings depended largely upon the successful creation, collation and distribution of paper-bound board packets. Not only was this process tedious and cumbersome, but boards would spend significant amounts of money on paper and printing costs, as well as mailing and carrier services in order to get board packets to board members ahead of time. Preparing for a school board meeting meant reviewing pages upon pages and having to redo the entire process if any mistakes or needed updates came to light. While some school boards are still relying on these methods for meeting management, many have made the switch over to digital and are reaping the daily benefits of boardroom technology.
From creating agendas and putting them through reviews and edits to actually addressing each item laid out in the agenda and making progress on key issues during the meeting, boardroom technology facilitates the most effective, efficient and impactful meeting outcomes on a consistent basis.
School boards of directors are among the least knowledgeable groups regarding boardroom technology. In a 2017 National School Boards Association (NSBA) survey of 482 school board members, only 22% of respondents knew that digitizing board documents would increase the security of information. Additionally, only 35% of respondents also understood that insecure file-storage sites like Google Docs significantly increase the risk of data breaches and other cyberattacks. With these statistics in mind, ensuring that boardroom technology is incorporated into board member trainings is critical to the security and operations of any school board.
It should be a top priority for today’s school boards to have a comprehensive understanding of technology and how to leverage digital tools securely and effectively. These trainings and conversations will also help to make the case for paperless meeting software to otherwise reluctant school board members by demonstrating the copious benefits that come from digitizing the boardroom. Once a board portal platform has been agreed upon, board trainings will work to prepare the board for implementation to make for a seamless and painless process.
Practicing good board governance is a core aspect of a school board of director’s work. Bad governance can seriously damage public trust and negatively impact a school board’s reputation, trickling down to effect the students and any achievement goals that may have been in place for either the short or long term. Working within tight budgets makes it difficult for school boards to allocate the right amount of spend to needed boardroom technology, but budgeting for a board portal is a necessary step that school boards should take if they truly wish to see continual improvements, strong board governance and goals being met. Leveraging boardroom technology that helps boards streamline meeting processes and easily access needed information enables them to focus more on practicing sound board governance and keeping an eye on the main goals for the district, like growing student success.