School sites score lower
• Glenn County Office of Education, Orland Unified School District, Willows Unified School District, Capay Joint-Elementary School District and Hamilton Unified School District all offer contact information on board of trustee members, with Capay listing their addresses and home phone numbers as well.
• Princeton Jointed Unified, Plaza Elementary, and Stony Creek Joint Unified school board members are not listed with any contact information.
• No school district has easily accessible budget information, vendor contracts or funding information.
• All of the school districts have staff or director listings, calendars and state-required school report cards.
• Most Glenn County school district websites have minutes of board meetings posted immediately following approval, and have links to individual schools, departments and programs. Stony Creek Joint Unified has not posted board meeting minutes since May 2012. Princeton's meeting and agenda portion of its website is currently down.
• Some school districts, like Plaza and Lake Elementary School, offer information online about extracurricular activities, such as 4-H and parent and community clubs.
• Most school officials, along with city and county officials, said they would like to modernize their websites to make them more user friendly.
By Susan Meeker and Rick Longley
The same nonprofit organization that reviews state, county and city websites said school districts tend to have the most dismal grades, with just 20 percent of districts scoring a "B" or above.
According to the Sunshine Review, school districts typically fail to report comprehensively contract agreements, how to obtain public records, publish audits or provided statements about their funding, the report stated.
Locally, Glenn County's school districts do a fairly good job of posting other important information on their sites, officials said.
Orland Unified Superintendent Chris von Kleist said he wants to continue to expand his district's website.
"We do not have a dedicated person to the site because we are so small," he said. "It is a battle to keep it up."
However, he said he monitors the site to make sure that as much current information is there as possible.
"I want to develop a frequently asked questions section," he said.
He noted Wednesday the site actually gets more traffic from out-of-state viewers than locals.
Similarly, Willows Unified officials said it is an ongoing process, but there is always room for improvement.
"I think our website is just fine, and the problem we have, and maybe other small districts do, is we have trouble finding a webmaster," Superintendent Mort Geivett.
He said the district relies on parents and some staff to keep the individual school sites up to date.
For example, the accountability report cards were recently posted, as was information about kindergarten registration and, of course, the calendar of events are there.
Geivett said it seems to be working.
"We have not had any complaints, like can't you add this or add that," he said.
And there are other advantages.
Orland officials said they save about $700 a month on paper, distribution and other costs by simply posting the meeting agendas online.
Putting all school board policies and administrative regulations on the web is another goal.
That way parents can look up field trip policies without having to come into the district office and look through a binder, he said.
"We have evolved to become a very good website," von Kleist said. "But like all programs, it has room to grow."
One item missing from the websites of most Glenn County school districts are the budgets.
Capay Elementary School District Superintendent Jim Scribner said hard copies are available in the office, but it has not been loaded to the website at this point.
One issue with his district is web space and the fact it has a T-1 line that limits the number of people who can come in and out of the site, he said.
Scribner hopes once the Glenn County Office of Education's new wireless tower is up that will help his Internet system expand.
"I am surprised at the number of new to the school or area people who are accessing our web page," he said. "It seems to be providing some useful information to our students and their families."
On five or six occasions, people moving to Capay from out of state like Colorado have looked at the site, Scribner said.