A Massachusetts school, desperate to raise extra funds after having already tapped out the parents, has decided to sell ad space to local businesses. What’s unusual is that the ads aren’t in the school’s monthly newsletter or the yearbook. The ads are on the notes home from school.
That’s right, field trip permission slips. Or lice head checks. Or, well, fundraising event reminders. All with 10% off coupons for manicure (new customers only).
The school is out of fundraising ideas and the ads are seen as a last-ditch effort, after having already squeezed parents with tripled bus fees. They also laid off staff and teachers and raised the amount charged to non-profits for use of the school facilities.
Parents are generally in support of the ads, which are 10 business-card size displays sold to local businesses that have been deemed non-controversial (sorry, tattoo parlors, you’ll have to wait until the school gets reeeeeeally desperate).
Promoting a local yarn shop or coffee house isn’t that big of a deal, sure. But there is a bigger concern: (1) school funding in general. Why, why can’t schools be better and more predictably funded in this country; and (2) how easily schools turn to the ad model of bringing in extra money. Today a local toy store, tomorrow Toys R Us, with a little Barbie promo on quarterly report cards?
The interesting thing, too, is the school won’t raise, relatively speaking, all that much from the endeavor: $20,000 to $24,000.
The lesson: check your kids’ backpacks for valuable savings.
Are there ads in your kids’ schools? Do you mind?
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