Should School Hallways Be Open To Advertisers?

It’s no secret that schools don’t have a ton of money. However, where is the line in the sand when it comes to making money? Should classes be cut? What about after school programs? Athletics? What about the sanctity of the school hallway?

The last question is up for debate in Minneapolis right now. According to the Star-Tribune, one school district is trying to decide if it should allow 10 percent of all surfaces to be used to advertise third-part products. For example, Coke could purchase as many lockers and ceilings as possible to display ads for a new campaign. In exchange, the school district would get about $184,000 a year. Here are the details from the Star-Tribune. (Click here to read the full article.)

On Nov. 1, the school board is slated to decide whether it will allow the ads on up to 10 percent of the available surfaces in all of the district’s seven schools. That includes lockers, walls and floors. The take for the district? $184,000 a year.

In a bleak economy, with dim prospects for any new state school funding, Centennial — with $3.6 million in cuts this year and more likely on the way next year — is just the latest school district looking at the ads as an alternative way to generate some cash. Paul Miller, president of Coon Rapids-based School Media’s, the company that would install the ads, said he expects to have nine Twin Cities school districts signed up by the end of the year.

Nearby St. Francis schools already made that decision. Ads will start going up on lockers there this week, said district Superintendent Edward Saxton. The district’s agreement with School Media’s is similar to Centennial’s proposed agreement. Its take: $190,000 to $200,000 a year.

“I hate to say it’s all about the money, but it probably is,” said Paul Stremick, Centennial school superintendent. “Still, we want to keep students’ interests in mind.” That means the district would be allowed to turn down ads not deemed suitable for kids.

St. Francis schools’ Saxton stressed that the advertising initiative is a one-year experiment.

“In the spring of next year, we’ll look at the revenue stream generated and make sure it wasn’t a distraction to learning,” he said. “If there are problems, we’re obviously not going to continue it, but if they become kind of a normal, everyday deal, it could just be part of the culture.”

(Click here to read the full article.)