In order to avoid potential budget problems caused by excessive paper use, the administration is encouraging teachers to order copies through an off-site MCPS program called Copy-Plus, according to Business Manager James Funk.
Copy-Plus, a county-wide service that makes photocopies for teachers at a central location in Rockville, is funded through the county's budget at no expense to individual schools. According to Funk, the school is limiting in-school copying use to save money for other projects. "The more money we spend on copying, the less we spend on other things," he said.
Copy-Plus supervisor John Marshall said that Blair already uses the program more than any other school in the county, with 1.3 million copies requested last year. This year's increase in Copy-Plus usage is already apparent, with over 600,000 copies requested in the past three months.
The school is limiting its use of paper this year, Funk said, to prevent the paper deficits the school faced at the end of last year.
Funk said that although he stocked department workrooms with paper, resource teachers have been encouraged to limit paper use.
But social studies resource teacher George Vlasits said that the administration gave the departments limited supplies of paper so teachers would be more inclined to use Copy-Plus. "They're trying to reduce the [number of] copies we make," Vlasits said. "So Mr. Funk is just putting a little paper in at a time."
According to Marshall, Copy-Plus was created two years ago after the Montgomery County Education Association complained that teachers were spending too much time making copies at the cost of planning classes and working with students. MCPS created the county-wide copying service to avoid the more expensive option of hiring copy assistants for individual schools. "Copy-Plus is taking pressure off of the budgets of schools and putting it into a central cost," he said.
At the beginning of this school year, Copy-Plus was overwhelmed with teacher requests, taking more than the promised 48 hours for copies to be delivered to teachers. Marshall said that the demand will subside and copy time will decrease by October. "When school starts, we get massacred. It takes us a couple of weeks to recover here," he said.
Marshall said that Copy-Plus's success depends on teachers' willingness to order copies online and give specific dates for when they need copies. He said that as teachers become accustomed to the system and Copy-Plus becomes accustomed to its workload, the program will become more effective.
Last year, Copy-Plus made 55 million copies for all 199 county schools, and Marshall anticipates that the number will increase this year.
Elementary schools and middle schools, Marshall said, request more jobs than high schools because they order assessment documents, while high schools mostly order homework and readings. However, high schools require more paper due to greater demand.
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