OK, after much reading and changing settings I still couldn't get it to apply all the printers and set the default reliably on first logon. I've ended up using a logon script which runs a gpupdate and all the printers show correctly. It's not the way I wanted to do it, but it works so for now I'm going to leave it as I need to get other stuff done.
I just kept printer deployments in scripts. I thought about GP, but we've got so many printers in the district (about 200) I was afraid of turning AD into a policy minefield. I already had AD fairly well organized and staff/student machines tightly named so writing a printer deployment script that could install printers based on a number of criteria wasn't very complicated. Matter of fact, then entire printer sub fit within two pages. I posted an example in a blog post.
VB Script for network printer deployment - Blogs - EduGeek.net