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7 Things You Don’t Have to Print This Year 7 Things You Don’t Have to Print This Year

7 Things You Don’t Have to Print This Year

Lauren Gilchrist Lauren Gilchrist Paperless Proponent
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You already know the perks of going paperless: Paperless districts save time and money, have simpler processes, rid themselves of filing cabinets and have more space in the office… That all sounds great, but how do they make it happenLet’s explore which processes you can shift online to move closer to a paperless office. 
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Reducing Back-to-School Paperwork 

The biggest source of paperwork influx to the district undeniably comes with back-to-school season. Here are four ways to reduce paperwork specific to enrollment. These processes will not only make the main office run more efficiently, but can also eliminate the need for parents to make a special trip to the school. 

Contract letters and staff wage letters

When new staff start at your district, deliver their contracts electronically. Ask them to review their contracts and fill in their address, direct deposit, and emergency contact information online before sending the forms back to the office. Then office staff can attach these forms to the employees’ HR records—all without printing a piece of paper. Create a similar workflow for returning employees, including a place for them to update any personal information that may have changed since last school year.

Online registration 

Each new school year brings a host of required forms for parents to fill out and return: acceptable use of internet policy, student demographic information, emergency contact details… What if all these papers were moved online? With 81% of adults owning a smart phone, having access to this information in their pocket will be a huge convenience boost. Go green with online registration and move a lot closer to eliminating the back-to-school paper shuffle.

Back-to-school payments 

With the first day of school comes smiling new faces, squeaky clean hallways, and… thousands of payments requiring hundreds of manual entry hours. Many eCommerce providers offer custom integrations supporting the fees you manage with your SIS. By having payments post automatically online, your district can save hundreds of hours and decrease the chance of manual entry errors. Plus, we don’t think parents will miss waiting in line at the start of the school year to pay!

Free and reduced lunch 

In 2018, nearly 75% of lunches served in school cafeterias were at a free or reduced rate. Rather than requiring paper signatures from all of these families, switch to requiring e-signatures on free and reduced lunch applications. Doing so will not only make these forms quicker for families to turn in, but also easier for office staff to record and access throughout the year. 

Paperless All Year Long 

Of course, paperwork doesn’t stop once the school year begins. Here are three more ways to eliminate paperwork for employees and students throughout the year.

Field trip waivers 

“An increase in paperwork” was once cited as one of several reasons why the number of field trips are in decline. Moving field trip waivers online is a small step you can take to simplify this process. Create an online field trip waiver that parents can sign and return electronically. If your system allows you to run reports on online forms, you’ll be able to run a report to easily identify which students’ forms have been submitted—and which families may need a gentle reminder.


Traditional W2 distribution involves office staff printing, folding, and mailing hundreds or thousands of forms to district employees. Fun, right? There’s another way. An increasing number of districts are moving W2 distribution online. By law, you must still give all employees the option to receive a paper form. However, you can give them the choice: paper or online delivery. Anyone who chooses the latter option will save your district both time and money.

Expense reimbursements

Why make expense reimbursements an expense? The average cost of processing an expense reimbursement by hand is $20.65. Save time and money by going paperless. Imagine a reimbursement that never involves a piece of paper: Employees submit their request online. Administrators review and approve the expense, perhaps even from a mobile device. The direct deposit goes straight into the employee’s designated account. 

Secure Tools 


Want to take paperless one step further? A scanner can turn your remaining paper processes digital. Scanners mean less paper in the office; plus, it’s easier to stay organized when the information you collect is all in one place. The culture shift that comes with paperless record retention is no joke—and districts must still comply with legal retention requirements. Consider setting up a designated scanner to move sensitive files to the cloud; just be sure all security protocols are followed.

Cloud Storage

Instead of warehouses of filing cabinets, it’s a must for districts today to invest in a secure, digital storage solution. The threat of ransomware is becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, so preventing an attack is key. Consider the 3-2-1 rule: Keep at least 3 copies of your data on 2 different types of storage, with at least 1 copy stored offsite.

Parent Portal

Parent portals are the perfect place to house and secure all your paperless initiatives. From messages and grades to online forms and disciplinary information, invite parents to go online and have this important information at their fingertips. 
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So, there you have it. Seven processes you can move online to move seven steps closer to paperless. Changing up your routines will take time, but the benefits will be well worth the investment. 

Follow-Up Resource: What is ePayables?

What if you could turn accounts payable into a revenue generator for your district? Learn more in this post.


Lauren Gilchrist Lauren Gilchrist Paperless Proponent
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