Centralizing the printing of teaching materials in the town’s elementary schools and middle school is saving Darien $200,000 a year, and the procedure hasn’t even been started for Darien High School.
That’s what Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner told the Board of Education last week at the board’s regular meeting.
“I am pleased to report that it appears that our copy center will save us approximately $200,000,” Brenner said at last Tuesday’s meeting of the board.
“I can say that because it is allowing us to remove personnel in the buildings who were doing only copying,” he said. “We no longer need their services to do that copying, and so we’ve been able to redeploy and not fill their positions.”
“In addition to that, we are saving on the numbers of copies that are being purchased. So, with confidence, I can say that we’ll be saving right around $200,000 […] and that’s before, by the way, we’ve lit up the high school. […] We started with the middle school this year.”
Brenner was familiar with centralized copying policies in other school districts he has worked in, and he implemented the policy in Darien after becoming superintendent.
Brenner said it hasn’t been an entirely smooth transition to a centralized copying location (in the school district headquarters on Leroy Avenue, in a room behind the room where the Board of Education meets).
“When we put the middle school on line at the beginning of this year, we got caught a little off guard, and so we got flooded with jobs at a rate that was beyond what we initially anticipated, and so we made some adjustments,” he said.
“We are right now right where we should be. We’ll probably start the copy center a little bit earlier in the summer, so we can get some of those big jobs done before the year starts. So it’s a learning process for us, but it’s a great service, and it’s at great savings, so we’re very pleased with it.”
Education Board member Jill McCammon congratulated Brennan on the money saved by the policy, but she said she had heard from a constituent who complained that some of the burden of making copies had shifted to the parents.
Brennan replied, “I would be very interested to hear the specifics around that, because we’re not limiting the number of copies. We’re limiting where they can do the copying.
“They [teachers] can make as many copies as they want, if they send it to this room. If they’re going to make copies at the local machine (in the teacher’s school building), then we limit the number of copies. […]
“So what we’re doing is we’re asking them to change practice, to prepare a little bit more, send it off,” Brenner said. “They’ll have it back within 24 hours, shrink-wrapped, in their mailbox, and they can make a thousand — they can make five thousand copies if that’s what they need. […] So there shouldn’t be an issue in terms of that.”
Copying is still done in individual school buildings, Brennan said. And teachers still copy in their own buildings when there’s no time to get the job done in the central copying room. “There are circumstances where you can’t prepare — things just happen,” he said.
“I will tell you we have more copiers in the buildings today than we have ever had. Now, they’re not the big, huge copiers that they used to [have], and they would break down and cause great pain. […] We have put smaller machines all ofer the buildings, so access is simple. […]
“We are being very careful about what we copy in color versus on what we copy in black and white,” Brenner said. “The difference is significant, and we’re just being more mindful and at the same time providing really good service to the teachers in terms of turnaround time.” […]
“There will be, as always, some folks who won’t be quite so happy with what is, from what was,” Brenner said, “and you know, that’s to be expected. That’s change, and we know change doesn’t always come easily, but I can rationalize change — in this case, 200,000 times. That’s what I would tell you. It’s a significant amount of money. It is not attacking one bit of instruction.”
Brennan indicated that his door is open to anyone with a complaint about the new way of getting copies made. “It could be we have to adjust,” he said. “There are things we could be missing.”
Here’s a video of the meeting, from the Darien TV79 Vimeo Web page: