Glendale Community College Board of Trustees meetings might go paperless, a move that proponents say could save thousands of dollars in printing costs and staff time each year.
If the proposed transition — scheduled to return to the trustees in the form of a software demonstration in December — is approved, it will place the college among the growing ranks of education institutions eschewing hard-copy documents for electronic files.
Riverside Community College and College of the Canyons have already made the switch.
“It is the wave of the future,” Glendale college trustee Ann Ransford said. “We are an educational institution, and it seems to me that is part of our statement — people need to be computer savvy in this world today.”
Currently, agenda packets — typically around 200 pages long — are assembled manually during the two-week period leading up to the trustees meeting, college officials said. As many as 45 individuals contribute to any given agenda, which goes through multiple iterations before it is approved, duplicated and distributed.
“There are people running back and forth on campus, things are assembled and then re-assembled, handwritten page numbers are put on it,” said Wayne Keller, assistant vice president for information technology. “It is quite a production.”
Officials did not have a specific cost for the production of each agenda packet, but said between the paper and the staff time it could be hundreds of dollars per meeting.
Software programs to produce the agenda packets come with upfront costs and a steep learning curve, Keller said, but they can be very effective.
“It really manages a very manual, labor-intensive work flow,” Keller said. “If it truly made things easier, I think it would really save a lot of time because assembling a board packet requires a lot of work, and right now, it is 100% paper.”
But board Vice President Armine Hacopian voiced concerns that a paperless approach would leave community members who attend the meetings out of the loop.
“Without laptops, they are not going to be able to follow,” Hacopian said. “We still have to do the paper. Perhaps not as many, but we still have to do several packages for community members who walk in.”
Other college leaders said they did not want money spent on laptops or other mobile electronic devices as part of the paperless transition.
“I think, between us, we can scrounge a laptop from somewhere if we don’t have one,” Peroomian said. “I don’t think the budget for this item should include buying hardware for people who don’t have them.”
-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News
Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version