St. James switches to new paperless meeting technology

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

By David vitrano

LUTCHER – The latest St. James Parish School Board meeting had a somewhat different look, with each board member’s face illuminated by an Apple laptop this time around.
The new look was courtesy the district’s recent switch to BoardDocs software. The technology allows important documents, such as meeting agenda items, to be placed online. The new system will allow the district to disseminate information more quickly and efficiently, hopefully eliminating complaints from board members that they did not have sufficient time to review meeting agenda items. It will also save the district some money as meeting packets no longer have to be compiled in hard copies. Board members now follow the meeting on their laptops.
At its first meeting using the new laptops, School Board members approved tax millage rates for the 2013 tax year.
According to Admini strative Director of Business Operations Jim Mitchell, the proposed millage rate was the same as that of last year, 43.67 mills, but each mill is producing more revenue than before. He said each mill is producing close to $500,000.
The millages provide the district with money for employee salaries and benefits, as well as early childhood development programs and debt service, among others.
The millage rates were originally introduced at an August meeting, but new state law mandates that such proposals be published as a public notice in the official journal and that a public hearing on the item be held.
Board members also OK’d an upcoming trip for a group of five St. James Parish students to travel to the annual Future Farmers of America convention in Louisville, Ky. The approval included a $1,000 stipend to help cover travel costs.
Program administrator Felix Landry said the group will make several stops along the way to see sights such as the Louisville Slugger manufacturing plant, a lumber mill and a horseracing track.
“They come back with stories to tell,” said Guidry.
The meeting also included an update on the state of the roof at Lutcher Elementary School.
According to Superin tendent Alonzo Luce, recent patching efforts at the school have ap  parently worked, as no leaks were observed during the last heavy rain. The district has said it plans to replace the roof next summer.
The roof at the predominantly African-American school has been a point of contention between the district and the local chapter of the NAACP in recent months.