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Ysleta ISD upgrades boardroom for 21st century experience

School Board meetings are when parents, kids and taxpayers come face to face with the district. ABC-7 learned one school district in particular is going all out to make the experience exceptional.

The Ysleta Independent School District is introducing new technology you won’t see anywhere else in the county.

Instead of flipping through paper agendas and the accompanying documents and hundreds of pages, a liaison presents it digitally, via four, top of the line flat screen TVs and two projector screens. Board members now have touch screen computers. Forget roll call, they just have to log in, or hand-written minutes, the computer logs that on its own. And forget the arguing, they just press a button if they want to speak, their request waiting in cue.

For public forum, there’s no sign in sheet, but there’s a kiosk to take down your information and virtually send it to the board.

“It allows more transparency to see everything that’s happening on the agenda,” said Gloria Chavez, YISD’s Chief Technology Officer, “The resolutions as they’re being voted on, what’s under discussion and what topic they’re on.”

YISD also has a brand new control room. Video Production Specialist Eddie Romero used to have to run three cameras by himself to get different angles. Now, it’s as easy as a flick of the wrist. He’s showing people in the audience different angles of the meeting, and people at home, watching the live stream on YouTube.

“We want the public to come, to participate in these meetings,” said Gustavo Reveles, EPISD’s spokesman. “This is their board of trustees, this is their school district. We want them to be here to see what’s happening, and be part of the decision-making process.”

El Paso ISD and Socorro ISD have similar features, big TV’s, a sound system, control room and a computer system allowing both the audience and board to follow along. Neither school district could say how much their board room costs. YISD’s upgrades cost $140,000, a number they justify spending tax dollars on because it’s for the taxpayer.

“This is a part of a message about moving to 21st century schools, classrooms, technology, and this is just a tip of the iceberg,” Chavez said.

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