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New Canaan Schools Study Digital Records

The Board of Education is investigating ways to cut clutter and save space by digitizing many of its old student records. The board this week discussed the possibility of hiring a firm to place many paper documents onto digital files.

Finance and Operations Director Michael Lagas said digitizing documents would make them easier to find, especially if a former student needs to get a transcript for a college application or other purposes. Digital documents would also save space, Lagas said. And they are protected, unlike hard copies.

"It's a considerable amount (of paperwork), and every year you add some and destroy some you should no longer have," he said. "It always changes."

Many town records stored in the basement of Town Hall were lost when the basement flooded in 2007.

Under state law, New Canaan Public Schools must retain certain documents for 50 years. Most are student academic records as well as some accounting and personnel records. Most are stored at Saxe Middle School.

With so many documents, the job of digitizing would take a while. Xerox Management Systems, which has a service contract with the New Canaan Schools, presented the district with a plan to digitize the documents over three years. Lagas said he would speak with other companies about prices and timelines. "We will see how many bids we're going to get," he said.

Board of Education President Nick Williams thinks going the digital route is good, adding that schools will likely move away from textbooks soon.

"This isn’t only desireable, but it's necessary," Williams said. "This world is moving to a paperless society and there are many benefits to that, not the least of which is it’s green, it’s efficient and it is a much better way of maintaining records."

Should school districts digitize their documents? Talk about it here by leaving a comment below.

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