|School Districts Selling Ad Space to Raise Revenue|
|posted by: Alix | November 22, 2011, 04:17 PM|
In the wake of the crippling recession and its decimating impact on state and local budgets, school districts across the country are searching for innovative ways of raising funds. In a bizarre turn, districts in states like Colorado, Utah, and New Jersey are selling advertisement space on everything from school buses to report cards. While the ideas will certainly be revenue generating, members of the public are beginning to call the moves inappropriate for the public school setting.
Colorado's largest school district, Jefferson County Public Schools, is projected to pocket $90,000 over the course of three years from Collegeinvest, a college savings plan, for small advertisements on report cards issued to over 86,000 students.
Explaining the partnership, school board Spokeswoman Melissa Reeves commented, "We're obviously looking for revenue generators and taking them where we can find them." The district already sells advertising space on its schools buses to a Colorado bank.
Collegeinvest Chief of Marketing Angela Baier called the move an appropriate step as the advertisements are certainly education related. "I really view it as a public service announcement because we're a non-profit and it's helping families that obviously have children."
In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert recently signed into law legislation that allows the state to sell advertisements on the outside of school buses. Designed to raise additional revenue for a school district's or chart school's general funds, the ads could contain no messages of a sexual nature and could not promote gambling or alcohol, tobacco or drug use. With a total of 2,225 school buses, estimates project that local school boards may be able to generate as much as $750 to $1,500 per bus per year.
In New Jersey, the legislature passed a similar law in January that allows exterior school bus advertisements. Unlike in Utah, where the funds could be allocated for general operating funds, schools are required to use 50 percent of revenue to offset rising fuel prices.
In 2011 alone, states including Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma and Washington debated legislation that would allow school bus advertisements.
While the laws are catching on, many are unhappy with this unique way of generating cash. Commenting on the advertisements in one Chicago neighborhood, one resident called the ads "disgusting" and detrimental to both the city and school system.
What do you think of the advertisement laws? Do you think it is a positive and appropriate way of raising funds for schools?