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Dixon School Board meetings going high-tech
DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 20, 2008) — Members of the Dixon R-I School Board tried out their new computerized meeting system Thursday night, with three DakTek computers shared by seven board members and the superintendent, agenda packets distributed online in advance, and most of the meeting conducted without a need for paper records.

Board President Troy Porter had sought to have the board purchase the BoardDocs computer software system until an evaluation by technology coordinator Lisa Brandt determined that it would be very expensive and might not provide major benefits. Instead, Brandt worked with board members to develop a similar system that would better meet Dixon’s needs.

“The system we’re using is homegrown,” said board member Danny Miller.

Superintendent Dawna Burrow said she liked the system.

“We’re in an experimental phase; this meeting was purely the first meeting to iron out any issues we might have and see how it would work,” Burrow said. “The goal is to have computers in front of every person sitting here.”

Porter said it appears the system designed by Brandt and her son for Dixon works as well as he had hoped.

“She’s researched it and made proposals on what we can do,” Porter said. “Everything is in PDF format and part of the reason for that is so someone won’t go in and change it; It is in a secure site where everybody on the board can get to it.”

Burrow said the system has already saved her a great deal of time.

“My preparation for the meeting was cut by a fourth,” Burrow said, holding up an example of the spiral-bound board agenda packet she typically produced for meetings.

“These typically took me, to go through everything and proof everything, about four hours of work. This month I spent about 30 minutes. All I had to hand it to Lisa and she put it out on the site,” Burrow said.

Porter said he hopes the electronic agenda system for Dixon is a sign of things to come.

“We’re getting more digital by the minute,” Porter said.

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