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Menahga School Board switches to paperless agenda

Menahga School District superintendent's secretary Deb Lenzen shows board member Mel Lockhart how to set up his BoardBook before Monday's meeting. Behind, Ernest Huhta, Jr., and Durwin Tomperi bring up the BoardBook on their laptops. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise()1 / 2
The BoardBook shows the agenda for each meeting and will include accompanying documents. Archives will be easy to access on the web. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

Menahga School Board members utilized new technology Monday in the form of BoardBook.

Each board member uses a computer to access the meeting agenda and documents while following along on a large screen. The public is also able to access the meeting agenda and documents through BoardBook.

Other school districts have utilized this paperless agenda, such as Frazee. The goal is to make the meetings move along more smoothly and also save paper. Board members are able to take notes using their computer as well.

The agenda and information can be downloaded before the meeting to review.

The program also allows access to previous meeting agendas and documents for easier research.

Monday's meeting discussion focused on budget issues, with mention of the state's proposal for a 60-40 funding shift to K-12 school districts.

Superintendent Mary Klamm said she estimates the district will receive about $600,000 less this year for cash flow. The state then promises to pay the rest of the school's funding at the end of the year.

"It's mainly a cash flow issue," Klamm said. "You can say it's better than cuts but it's still difficult for school districts."

Menahga School District has a $1.4 million fund balance, which is healthy, she said.

"We're fortunate. It's not extra money," but it helps with cash flow, she added.

In other business, the board:

n Had a first reading for a new social media policy for employees. Much of the language is borrowed from the St. Michael-Albertville School District.

"Social media is fundamentally changing the way persons engage with each other and continues to evolve as new technologies and social networking tools become available," the policy states. "Menahga School District recognizes the value of technology to enhance communication, challenge students in meeting high academic standards, and manage and analyze data. It also recognizes its obligation to teach and ensure responsible and safe use of these technologies and to provide appropriate guidance, understanding and direction for maintaining a standard of professionalism, and acting within accepted standards of conduct."

The policy includes definitions explaining that employees always represent the district even if they are not in school.

"The lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred in the digital world," the policy states. "Even when you have a disclaimer or use a different user name, an employee will always be considered associated with the District. Whether it is clearly communicated or not, an employee will be identified as working for and sometimes representing the school in what he/she does and says online."

The board also had a first reading of a policy for removing a student from class for disruptive behavior. The policy includes the steps to take when this occurs.

Heard an update on the construction of a multi-purpose room. Much of the construction is on schedule, however, one portion of the construction has been delayed because a state inspection is needed. Klamm said she hoped the inspection could be made this week now that the state is wrapping up its budget.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561