EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Andrew Klein, eGovernance specialist, explained BoardDocs to the East Penn Board of School Directors at the Oct. 22 meeting.
Klein described how BoardDocs LT could assist the directors and administration with creating, managing and publishing agendas, minutes, policies and other board-related documents. These could then be archived efficiently, and except for PDFs without optical character recognition, be searchable. According to Kline, BoardDocs includes video integration which would allow for uploads of videotaped board meetings.
Klein demonstrated the differences between the LT (light) version of the software and BoardDocs Pro which features electronic work flow, easier creation of minutes, online voting, private annotations to documents, a searchable library and strategic goal tracking.
There is an “executive content” option with BoardDocs to screen personal information from public view such as board member’s phone numbers or annotated notes on agenda items.
Superintendent of Schools Kristen Campbell voiced a preference to BoardDocs LT as being sufficient from an administrator’s point of view. The cost of the program would be a total of $5,000 which includes a $2,700 annual fee for BoardDocs LT and $2,300 to purchase Chromebooks for board members. The Chromebooks would have a projected lifespan of approximately five years. Klein said a $1,000 implementation fee would be waived if the district would sign up for the service by the end of December.
Director Ziad Munson asked about adding it as an agenda item for discussion at the next meeting.
The BoardDocs presentation tied in with the director’s discussion of video recording board meetings. The board debated the merits of live streaming versus posting videos a day or two after the meeting. Live streaming on YouTube would provide the public with instant access of a meeting in progress, but could not be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. Possible buffering issues were mentioned.
Campbell and Director of Technology Michael Mohn recommended handling video recording in-house and posting the video 48 hours afterward which would allow for time stamping and for closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. A single ceiling-mounted camera with digital recorder could be purchased for $6,000 according to Campbell. She added third-party vendors doing the work would cost $6,000-$12,000 annually.
Responding to a request from the directors and hearing from others about the condition of the stadium field at a previous meeting, Campbell updated the board on the administration’s plans to hire an engineering firm to determine if the timeline for the completion of the artificial turf project could be accelerated. It is currently on target to be finished in 2020.
Campbell announced Emmaus High School senior Kevin Ge has been named a 2019 National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist. In addition to his high test scores, Campbell said, “Kevin has been active in many academic, civic and athletic organizations.” The superintendent and Board President Ken Bacher presented Ge with a “Recognition of Achievement” certificate from the school directors while his mom Reacky Huang and dad Charssen Ge watched from the audience.
In other business, Campbell informed the board the district has been selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to receive a 2018-2019 Safe Schools targeted equipment grant of $25,000 to purchase recording servers and surveillance cameras.
Campbell expressed gratitude to the East Penn School District Education Foundation for providing several schools with 2018-2019 Innovator STEAM grants which range from $500 up to $3,000.
Math workshops are being scheduled for parents of East Penn School District students to provide them with resources to help their children with homework, according to Campbell.
The directors approved the iPad lease agreement with Apple Inc. pursuant to the master lease purchase agreement of Jan. 3, 2017 in the amount of $280,747.12.
EHS Student Government Association representatives Sajan Patel and Sydney Souliere updated the board on a successful homecoming week, a recent Red Cross blood drive which brought in 35 pints of blood and the Powderpuff tournament was rescheduled to Oct. 24 due to poor field conditions Oct. 12. The representatives reported the distribution of new Chromebooks to ninth and 10th graders were well received after conducting a poll.
On personnel matters, the directors approved the retirement of business office confidential assistant Debra Beitler effective March 9, 2019. Campbell said Beitler has been with the district for 37 and a half years, starting as support staff at Kings Highway School then working in payroll since 2013.
Director Alisa Bowman reported the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit held a presentation on emotional support for students.
Director Charles Ballard reported the state legislature sent around 100 bills to Gov. Tom Wolf to sign or veto within 10 days. Senate Bill 1086, for stop arm cameras on school buses, is among them.
The school board held a third reading of updates to current board policies with few changes. These included changes provided by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association on how to run board meetings, child abuse policies and food service rules regarding student accounts.
There were no requests to address the board.
There was an executive session held prior to the public meeting on negotiations and legal matters, according to Bacher.
Bacher announced the upcoming EHS Drama Department production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will be performed 7 p.m. Nov. 1, 2 and 3.
Bacher also called attention to the district’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon for Golden Age Cardholders slated for 1 p.m. Nov. 15 at Eyer Middle School and Lower Macungie Middle School and 1:30 p.m. at EHS.
The East Penn Board of School Directors meet regularly 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month, with only one meeting in July. The next one is scheduled for Nov. 12 in the boardroom of the administration building.