In 2013, Yale University published an article on its Information Technology Services site showcasing its sustainability practices. During the 2011 fiscal year, researchers found that the university consumed 211,033 reams of paper – enough to span three-quarters of the way around the earth if each sheet was laid end-to-end.
To give another visual, this amount of paper required about 12,662
trees. Yale discovered that it could save $100,000 – and the environment – if it transitioned to electronic timesheets and decreased its dependence on paper.
In the 2012 fiscal year, the university’s paper consumption decreased by 2.4%. That number may seem insignificant, but this means that the university used 7,797 less reams than the prior year. (Yale’s Sustainability Strategic Plan
aims to decrease its 2013 paper purchasing levels by 10% as of next June.)
Who says similar results can’t be achieved in your K-12 environment?
According to an Education World blog post
, paperless school board meeting packets saved an Arizona district about $4,500
per year. Again, that’s just
paperless board packets. Multiply that $4,500 by a factor of 10 and you'll start to gain an understanding of how much you could save by moving all factions of your district operations to a digital environment.
The technology already exists for everything from classroom work to progress reports, time off requests to payroll, and even testing and assignments to be moved to a paperless model. The return on an investment you'll receive even if you have some upfront infrastructure costs will be through the roof.
If your district is looking to give the paperless model a try, there are a few aspects you, as a district administrator, should consider. Think about the current systems you are using and the various workflows that are in place. You'll likely want to determine how such a change will affect business and learning operations and how you can leverage those benefits to achieve success for your district and its stakeholders.
Highly successful transitions have occurred, and your district can achieve the same results. Looking for some guidance? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve outlined five tips to make "going paperless" a smooth and enjoyable experience: