How Electronic Cumulative Folders can Save a School District Thousands of Dollars a Year

A paperless solution is the singular answer to a myriad of paper-based problems. 

With an average cost of $0.02 per sheet of paper, it’s a common misconception that the paper route is the cheapest way to run an office. For some offices with very low paper needs, this may be true, but for offices that have to keep an excessive amount of paper on file, more than just the cost of paper has to be taken into account. That $0.02 adds up so quickly, that the original price of the single piece of paper isn’t nearly as shocking as the end result. For example, if a public school district has 5,000 students (as at least 701 American school districts do), and each student has 20 pieces of paper in their file, the total cost of paper in those files is $2,000. Now let’s say the school secretary has to make two copies of each piece of paper in every student’s file: one for their teacher and one to send home to their parents. The total cost is now $6,000 in just paper. And where are those files kept? Manila folders, which cost on average $10 per box of 100. So let’s calculate the cost for 2 folders per student (since the school nurse, the teachers, and the school nurse probably all need folders as well) – $1,000.

While this example uses basic math to prove a point – the actual research, done by Mandy Haggith, an environmental activist with a specialty in tree preservation, states that the average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 pieces of paper a year. So let’s go back to the basic math, and say that this public school with 5,000 students has 20 administrators, 227  teachers (which would serve 22 students per classroom), and 5 secretaries, and 2 nurses, and they each only use 1,000 pieces of paper a year. The total cost of paper usage for one year, based on Haggith’s research, would be $5,800, and keep in mind that this example touts a relatively small school district and a small number of employees. 

The price of paper includes a lot more than just the cost of the reams.  Let’s not forget about refill printing supplies, acquiring and accommodating filing cabinets, folders, extra storage space at a warehouse for old files, and of course, paying for the labor involved with making copies, filing, locating misplaced files, and re-creating lost documents. The cost of toner alone for a laser-jet printer is around $75 a cartridge, which will print around 2,000 pages – meaning for the example at hand an office would need to spend at least $9,525 a year on just the toner for the staff’s printing needs (254 employees). Let’s hope those printers don’t break down and cost more money in repairs.

Storage is a much heftier expense. A five drawer filing cabinet of fine quality can cost an office around $500.  “The average filing cabinet uses 15.7 square feet, and the current U.S. average cost of office space is $15–$20 per square foot, so you’re paying roughly $236–$314 per filing cabinet solely for the real estate it consumes. Current estimates show that 50–70% of space in an office is still dedicated to filing and storage of documentation,” (McCorry, 2009). Studies also show that over 45% of the files in those cabinets are duplicated information, and 80% is never accessed again. These files are simply detained in case of legal liability and compliance. And when those files are needed in order to respond to a lawsuit or to adhere to a FERPA situation (for a school district), often the searcher finds that the necessary documents have been misplaced or misfiled. A study conducted by Deloitte & Touche found that U.S. managers spent an average of three hours a week looking for paper that had been misfiled, mislabeled, or lost. IDC Research estimated that the typical enterprise with 1,000 workers wasted $2.5 to $3.5 million per year searching for information and re-creating lost documents. The point we’ve been getting at is that not only are these exorbitant storage costs easily erased, so are the mistakes and mishaps that come along with paper files. The redundant amount of copies upon copies that are printed for records and distribution can exist safely and accessibly in a single place within paperless filing software – like Electronic Cumulative Folders.

This math in this graphic comes from an example student count of 5,000 students.

A paperless solution is the singular answer to a myriad of paper-based problems. Online filing systems, like Central Records Gateway from SRC Solutions, Inc., equipped with Electronic Cumulative Folders s eliminates the issues mentioned, and many more for the price of $3.00 per student, employee, or case folder. Let’s go back to our first example, the small school with 5,000 students. Suddenly the cost of paper, copies, printer needs, storage space, and staff labor comes to a mere $15,000, total by replacing all the supplies and manual labor associated with a paper-based system with an automated digital filing system. Our sample school here would have saved $12,076 by paying the cost of Central Records Gateway instead. The ROI keeps on rising when you realize that the paper, folders, and staff time ($12,800) would be saved each and every year after the implementation of Electronic Cumulative Folders. Eliminate the cost of paper files, the cost of copying paper to distribute within the office and to parents or clients, eliminate the time and effort it takes staff to file documents and then dig them back up, eliminate the frequency that the office must repair printers and replace their toner and ink, and eliminate the cost of storage space inside and outside the office with Electronic Cumulative Folders. This solution can be utilized by more than just school offices, it can also serve the needs of any HR department, law office, and other types of business offices. Schedule a demonstration today by emailing

Registration Gateway