Advertisements on School Walls Are a Saving Grace

school hallwayA school district in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is getting creative with their financial crisis. After having to slice out $3 million from their budget, the board thought of a way to bring in some revenue. Over the next few weeks, 218 ads, some as large as 10 feet by 5 feet, will be slapped on walls, lockers, and floors of 16 elementary, middle, and high schools in the area. In total, the sales of these ads will bring in about $424,000. Not too shabby.

Of course, there are always two sides to the story.

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The "ad"vocates argue that the money gained by the ad sales will keep the schools from having to make cuts that would make class sizes larger, eliminate after-school programs, and possibly raise taxes. The ads are kid-friendly and are geared toward sending messages about health (outdoor activities ads were placed and paid for by the US Library of Congress) and organization (Post-Its bought some space, too). Overall, each ad has to serve an educational, nutritional, or health-conscious purpose and be appropriate for students of all ages.

But there are some people who aren't wild about the idea. You have parents who think that ads don't belong in the schools, that they're a distraction, that the kids will be a captive audience to ads that parents may or may not agree with.

To me, you gotta choose the lesser of two evils here and go with paid advertising. And I say "evils" because these kids have the rest of their lives to be inundated with advertisements, but I think a well-placed, thoughtful ad in a school is better than over-stuffed classrooms and cuts to the music and art department. I'd rather have my kid see a giant image encouraging him to wear a specific brand of bike helmet than have him squeeze into a classroom of 45 children.

Schools all over the country have adopted this method as a way to increase cash flow, and until they get the funding they need, I can understand their choice to throw up a Post-It ad in order save other programs. $424K is a lot of money, after all.

What do you think about ads in schools?

 

Photo via jasonwoodhead/Flickr

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