For Discussion – New Printer Moratorium

Originally posted March 12, 2012

In light of a cost report done at the Vancouver School Board which referenced printers and printing costs along with our requirement to have various printing reduction strategies in place for Provincial carbon reporting I would suggest the following change to the Printer Purchasing Policy which is currently at

Suggested addition:

New Printer Moratorium

Technology Services will no longer support the addition of new printers to the school district unless they have a specific educational purpose (ie adding a drafting class and need a plotter, a new fine arts class needs a color printer etc)

This does not apply to replacement of current printers however but does apply to an expansion of the number of printers already in schools.

Replacement of current printers should consider the cost and volume of use for the printer to be replaced to determine if the printer should be decommissioned or be replaced with a different volume capacity.

3D printers are not included in this moratorium.

As usual your public comments help to guide our practice. Private comments can be sent via email.




18 Replies to “For Discussion – New Printer Moratorium”

  1. It would be helpful to see what the VSB cost report actually said. It would also be useful to know how much time your staff spends servicing printers, to see if it is an unsustainable and costly process. We have only 2 printers left in our building, one for accounts and one in my office. When they die, mine will not be replaced. We print or scan to the photocopier.

  2. Jarrod. Reading this on super high speed internet in a Starbucks in Vancouver. Underlining the need for BIG improvement in the rural North Peace. Amazing. I can enjoy Twitter.

  3. I agree with Randy!! 😉 Most everything you ‘need’ to print can be saved and kept electronically or sent via email, and let the person on the other end decide if they want the expense of printing it out.

  4. Thinking about a printer bounty – as an example say we would pay $250 to remove one printer from your school. What do you think of that?

  5. This looks like a great idea. I know we could do with less printers if we had reliable photocopiers that were networked.

    1. That is our goal. Especially when photocopiers are costing schools only fractions of a penny on toner costs where desktop printers are much more expensive.

  6. I always wonder of being sent info through the fax to be posted….right after I have copied it from an email. Might be cost efficient to only send a copy through one format, not more.

  7. I find it hard to imagine not having a printer on my desk. We have a lot of confidential documents that need to be printed out for Benefits, Payroll, and for personnel files and so it’s not best practuce to print them out to the main copier in the workroom. Plus we need to keep paper copies until such time as auditors want to look at computer files. At some point in the future I would imagine that all of the personnel files and all of the files we keep for the auditors will be able to be on computer only, but until that time, I value my desktop printer very highly. It is definitely one of the most convenient tools I have.

    1. I completely understand Sharon, our intention with this is not to start removing printers, but to carefully consider what we replace them with and if they need replacement. Also it would put a moratorium on adding a new printer where one hadn’t been before.

  8. I use a printer daily to produce barcodes, shelf labels, etc, and though I only rarely use my portable printer, it has proved to be an essential tool for some tasks, at some schools. There have been occasions when I couldn’t connect to a school’s printer (especially with my new laptop!!??) and I have lost reports as a result. I will definitely always need access to a printer.

    1. We have no intention on taking your printer away Margaret. The idea behind this is to not buy printers where one hasn’t existed before as well as evaluate each one that needs replacement to see whether it needs to be replaced and to make sure it is replaced with the appropriate volume capacity.

  9. I’ve summarized a comment sent via email to be included for discussion
    -is it the job of Technology Services to dictate how many printers, Smartboards, document cameras etc that a principal chooses to have in a school?
    -decisions are made based on the unique needs of our buildings
    -for servicing purposes we should only be purchasing the same model

    1. Here are my thoughts on whether TS should dictate the number of printers:

      Printers are often a high service time item as we have a multitude of hardware devices and operating systems that may or may not have correct drivers for the printers. Even new printers have this issue. We often spend a tremendous amount of time trying to solve problems with printers. Additional printers would only increase that amount of time. The time spent on printers could be better spent supporting other learning technologies, especially when printing solutions already exist.

      Printing to our photocopiers should be available to most staff and we need to work to make it more accessible as well. The cost per page printed via the photocopiers is a fraction of a penny, where the cost to print to desktop printers can be as high as 25 cents a page. Schools don’t necessarily plan for or expect these costs. As many have seen, $900 is not unusual for purchasing colour toner for a single printer in a year. This policy change would allow us a way to save schools dollars in the short and long term that can be much better directed.

      The new educational use exception should allow for schools to add printers where there is an educational need (new art room / drafting class etc); however, not to add them for convenience sake.

      Should you be able to print? Yes. Should printing be convenient, not necessarily.

      As for whether TS can set policy about technology purchasing in your school yes we can, by Board Policy – – which allows us to “establish parameters for the purchase of technology”.

  10. I agree that there should be a moratorium placed on purchasing of new printers. I think that sometimes the convenience of having a nearby printer is definitely abused. Do we really need to print one more colouring sheet? Sometimes it’s just silly what is printed in some of the schools/classrooms. Have I printed something that I should have considered just saving as a PDF and viewing on my monitor? Definitely. But I do think that I’ve become more aware of what I should and should not be printing. Sometimes it is unavoidable – if nothing else, because I can’t read the doc on my monitor – but I do make the effort to be more aware. I think that is all we can ask of ourselves and our colleagues and students. Be aware.

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