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Central office chided by board members

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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NORTH HAVERHILL — At their Oct. 21 meeting, the SAU-23 executive board requested improvements in the operations in the SAU #23 business office, particularly with ongoing problems related to payroll throughout the supervisory unit.

Michelle Reagan of the Haverhill Cooperative School Board, stated that there can be no more errors on the staff paychecks.

"It is unacceptable," she said. Interim Superintendent Don LaPlante said that some of the issues with paychecks have been misunderstandings, but Reagan pointed out that the board asked the SAU's business office to deal with the problems six weeks ago, and there are still reports of errors and missing checks.

"It has to be 100 percent correct," she said.

Don Bagley, chair of the SAU board from Warren, brought up another issue with the business office, and said that the amount of time taken for SAU-23 employees to respond to emails and phone messages was too long.

"This is a $20 million dollar business and you should run the office more like a business," he said, adding that he had sent a request for information to business manager Melissa Dunnett and didn't receive a timely response. He said at the very least, when he sends an email to the business administrator, she should send a quick email back acknowledging receipt of the email. LaPlante said that the office is extremely busy, and sometimes they might not get a chance to check email until much later in the day.

In an effort to alleviate space issues at the offices, and to have district files properly stored and backed up, LaPlante said they are looking into obtaining software and equipment called Docstar. All documents would be scanned into the system and filed electronically, and the paper version is immediately shredded.

The system also alerts users when documents can be expunged. LaPlante said the system is secure with files immediately retrievable. Furthermore, scanned documents are considered originals and are admissible in court, he said.

The system can be leased for five years with an overall cost of $4,400, and at the end of five years the equipment can be purchased for $1. One license has five users attached and comes with a high-powered scanner. LaPlante said they would start with the special education department, and convert the paper documents to the system. Currently there are 20 file cabinets filled with data in the basement of the SAU building.

These cabinets are not fire-safe, and do not comply with state standards for file storage. In order to transfer the paper files into the system, LaPlante said it would be best to hire a temporary employee to scan them.


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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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