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Clayton BOE to get paperless technology training

By Curt Yeomans

The Clayton County Board of Education will move one step closer to making the switch to a paperless technology system, a move it promised nearly two years ago, the school board's chairperson said on Thursday.

Board members are scheduled to spend nearly three hours on Saturday morning, getting training, from Georgia Schools Boards Association (GSBA) officials, on how to use their eBoard web site. The training will begin at 9 a.m., at the S. Truett Cathy Professional Learning Center, which is located at 1087 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.

Clayton County School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said the eBoard training will be done in preparation for an eventual move to the online system, in which school board members will receive their board-meeting materials electronically, rather than receiving thick paper packets. "We're going to save some trees, by going paperless, and switching to eBoard," Anderson said.

The eBoard training will make up the first half of a seven-hour training session, which is designed to meet GSBA annual training requirements for local school board members, according to Anderson.

The eBoard program is an online information system, that was developed by GSBA. It is also used by the State Board of Education. The Clayton County school board approved paying GSBA to develop an eBoard web site for the district at the beginning of 2009. Since then, it has been rarely used.

The only things that have been posted on the district's eBoard web site include: the names of board members; all of the board's policies; the date of the board's March 4, 2009, business meeting; a report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) from Sept. 15, 2009; some policy changes that have long since been dealt with, and the Georgia Department of Education's strategic plan.

Anderson said some members of the board have been hesitant to make a switch to online meeting packets, because they prefer reading a physical document. The chairperson said she had no particular preference between physical copies or electronic versions. She admitted, however, that times are changing, and the school board needs to keep pace.

"We live in a technology-driven society, and eBoard is definitely the way of the future," she said. Anderson said that while the board's meeting packets will be posted on the eBoard web site, only board members will be able to access them. The board chairperson said that is because the packets contain some sensitive materials. "It's because of the confidentiality of personnel records, and legal matters that we deal with," she said.

Anderson added that no date has been set for a conversion to full eBoard use. That could be discussed by board members during the training session on Saturday, she said.

The second half of the training session will be spent going over policy-setting and parliamentary procedures, since the board gave up its parliamentarian during recent budget cuts.

Anderson said board members had some questions about parliamentary procedures, which is why, she said, the subject was put on the agenda for the training session.