Fort Smith school board goes paperless

September 25th, 2014 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Business Process Automation | Workflow
An Arkansas school board has gone paperless in order to save time, labor and maybe some trees.

An Arkansas school board has gone paperless in order to save time, labor and some trees as well. 

Zena Featherston Marshall told the Southwest Times Record that the Fort Smith school board had swapped out paper documents for computer screens during meetings. Benny Gooden, the district's superintendent, told the publication that though the board likely won't handle technology as well as digitally-acute students in the district, members are attempting to go fully digital in terms of meeting participation. 

"The meeting just flew by for us," Jeannie Cole, a board member, told the publication after the first paperless meeting. "Hopefully, we're saving a few trees this way and the labor for our staff with copying and recopying."

Cole went on to say that the board had been discussing switching over to computers school board sessions for year, but only just now implemented the digital transition. She stated that if the school district requests that students mitigate their paper usage, then the board should be setting an example for them to follow by doing so as well. Several schools have begun experimenting in paperless classrooms. And according to board member Yvonne Keaton-Martin, the transition hasn't been all that difficult. 

"It wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be," she told the Southwest Times Record. "I enjoyed it. I was surprised."

Leaving paper behind leads to savings 
Dennis Kempner, an information technology executive, wrote on the Association for Information and Image Management website that switching over to a content management system can result in huge savings for institutions that make the transition, with the addition of ecological benefits.

He wrote that adopting ecologically beneficial business process automation solutions can result in reduced costs in regard to filling and retrieval, data entry, ink and printing, in addition to slashed labor expenses. Kempner added that these savings will add up over time. 

Elementary schools Morrison and Sunnymede, as well as Ramsey Junior High, began a digitally immersed school year this August, the Southwest Times Record noted. The school has 11,000 computers available for classroom use. Students were provided with the computers in order to do work both in class and at home. 

"We didn't hand out laptop computers to everybody in the senior class," Gooden said. "We handed them out at the elementary and junior high levels because they're going to gain those skills that are going to take them all the way to high school. That's where we're headed with that." 

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