FORT WALTON BEACH — Paper is out and laptop computers are in at Okaloosa County School Board meetings.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Paper is out and laptop computers are in at Okaloosa County School Board meetings.

After decades of relying on printed documents, the school district has joined many others across the nation in using the E-agenda.

“It was just time,” School Board member Cathy Thigpen said. “(I’m) just glad that we had the capability to do it.”

After researching different programs for about a year, the district finally chose a program called Board Docs, which is used by other organizations in the state, including the Florida School Board Association, said Eric Mitchell, who oversees technology for the district.

It cost $10,500 to implement the program and technology, according to Chief Financial Officer Rita Scallan.

Board members had a few qualms just before Thursday’s workshop, but with two IT employees standing behind them to help, they made it through their first meeting of the digital era.

View the agenda for the upcoming meeting »

“For the most part I was very happy with how things went today,” Mitchell said. “What we have to work out is very minimal compared to what I thought we’d have to work out.”

He said the district held several training sessions for everyone who will use the new software, including about a two-hour meeting with School Board members.

“It’s pretty user-friendly once we get a couple of the glitches worked out,” School Board Vice Chairwoman Cindy Frakes said.

Paper copies of the agenda still will be available at meetings for people without a digital device.

The new program also gives the public access to documents tied to agenda items, including PowerPoint presentations. A link to the latest agenda can be found on the school district’s home page below School Board news.

“You really get a lot more information than what used to be available,” Mitchell said.

All the School Board members said they thought going digital will have a lot of benefits in the long run, but it might take some time to get used to the “new normal.”

“We’re going to sell tickets Monday night,” Frakes said of the board’s next meeting with a laugh.


The Okaloosa County School Board will meet next at 6 p.m. Monday at 120 Lowery Place in Fort Walton Beach.

Contact Daily News Staff Writer Katie Tammen at 850-315-4440 or Follow her on Twitter @KatieTnwfdn.