Education & Government
Kathleen Vail Image
Kathleen Vail
Former Editor-in-Chief, National School Boards Association

How board management software can save school secretaries time

February 19, 2024
0 min read
How board management software can save school secretaries time

Board support personnel, including the board secretary or clerk, perform work that is essential to smooth board meetings. Their work helps the board govern effectively.

Board secretaries and clerks are skilled professionals who perform at high levels under increasingly complex and stressful conditions. When their work gets bogged down with tedious, labor-intensive tasks, they can become dissatisfied with their jobs and even experience career burnout.

Board management software can save time for support staff, allowing them to focus on duties such as making sure the board is in compliance with state and federal mandates, recording and maintaining meeting minutes, and communicating with district and school staff about board policies and procedures.

How one California district saves time

Administrative staff at California’s Visalia Unified School District (read the full story here) used to spend hours preparing and printing board meeting agendas and board packets for the board’s biweekly meetings. Because of printing deadlines, packets had to be prepared a week in advance. Changes or edits were difficult, and the pages had to be reordered with handwritten page numbers.

To make things even more laborious, when the packets were finalized, each page had to be scanned to create an electronic copy. Staff had to go through and bookmark the paper copies available to the public. Because of security concerns and to ensure that board members received the meeting packet in a timely manner, a staff member hand-delivered the agenda and packet to each board member before the meeting.

Fortunately, relief from these time-consuming duties came in the form of board management software. By using this software, the district was able to cut staff time spent on preparing and distributing board packets in half. The district can now create agendas and board packets electronically, and quickly make additions without the hassle of redoing the entire packet. As an added bonus, they no longer have to hand-deliver board packets, as they can share them digitally through the highly secure platform. Board members have easy access to documents any time they need them, which saves lots of time before, during and after board meetings.

Technology delivers time-saving efficiencies

Technology such as board management software can improve overall efficiency by automating routine tasks and reducing errors, which also contributes to successful board governance. While board secretaries mostly work behind the scenes, their efforts in managing meeting schedules, logistics, agendas and documentation are noticed. When the public sees meetings run smoothly, they place more trust in the board and the school district.

With the right technology tools at hand, board secretaries and clerks can manage and organize board meetings effortlessly. Board management software can help them save time, improve accuracy and reduce the risk of errors. It enhances administrative processes and streamlines communication between board members, staff and the community. It also represents a secure way to store and access sensitive information without the fear of data breaches.

Time-saving efficiencies include:

Routine task automation: Board management software can automate meeting notifications, email responses and secure document distribution and publishing. Automation ensures that notifications and other information goes out in a timely way and that all board members get information at the same time.

Agenda creation and distribution: In Visalia Unified School District’s case, board support staff were able to stop spending hours manually creating, producing, and distributing agendas and board packets. Board management software can help secretaries and board staff create, publish and distribute agendas and supporting documents. Late updates, additions, or deletions to the agenda can be done quickly and distributed instantly, ensuring that the board always have the latest and most up-to-date information. The updated agenda and packet are also available and searchable for members of the public in time for the meeting.

Complying with open meeting requirements: Board secretaries are also responsible for tracking compliance with open meeting requirements. Board management software such as Diligent Community allows board secretaries and clerks to stay compliant with open meeting laws through quick and easy publishing of meeting schedules, agendas and packets for transparency to the public. As more livestreaming legislation comes into place, technology such as Diligent Community also allows public meetings to be livestreamed with ease, and a recorded version of the meeting to be uploaded with time-stamped minutes for the public to securely access.

Document and information requests: Board secretaries frequently receive requests from board members, administrators and the public for board meeting minutes, policies and other documentation. Board management software enables secretaries and clerks to manage documents and data efficiently and securely. Online document libraries allow administrators, board members and staff to search for information. These libraries can store files in custom folders, also allowing for controlled and secured access to sensitive information.

Ensuring data and document security: Sending, receiving and storing documents through insecure online channels or via district servers can present security issues. Board secretaries and other district employees should safeguard sensitive information and documents. Fortunately, board management software like Diligent Community allows the district to store documents securely and to send secure communications to board members, keeping sensitive information safe from cyberthreats.

Public communication: Technology allows the district to communicate easily with the community through its public website. Many other online sources of information, including social media posts, can contribute to misinformation and false narratives about the district and the school board. District staff can build trust with the community by keeping them up to date and informed through the district’s website. Over time, community members and school district staff will see that the website is the single source of truth for the district.

More time to do what’s important

In the case of Visalia Unified School District, technology helped save valuable time, streamline key workflows and move staff time away from manual tasks.

It had another outcome, as well: The ability to electronically share board agendas and meeting minutes increased both board member and public trust.

As Visalia Unified School District’s Board Manager Delia Smart points out, “Diligent Community allows community members to see the board function as a well-oiled machine. No one thinks we’ve buried something deep into the pages, and we’ve received positive feedback publicly and privately.”

“Diligent Community allows community members to see the board function as a well-oiled machine. No one thinks we’ve buried something deep into the pages, and we’ve received positive feedback publicly and privately.” - Delia Smart, Board Manager, Visalia Unified School District

Diligent Community is a cloud-based software solution that is specifically designed for school boards. It supports school board secretaries and clerks to manage key tasks and organize board meetings effortlessly. Request a demo of Diligent Community to see how it can help board secretaries save time while supporting their boards and district to achieve its mission and goals.


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