Board approves changes in ad campaign, enrollment

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – A local school district will revise its advertising campaign in an effort to attract more students.

Jeffrey Bartold, superintendent of Dearborn Heights School District No. 7, told Board of Education members Monday that the district has run advertisements at movie theaters and on television in the past. He advised members to approve limiting future ads to theaters only.

Airing the commercials on TV was expensive — $3.7 million, roughly one-fifth of the district’s budget — and didn’t draw a huge response, he said. On a survey asking parents how they heard about the district, only a handful cited the TV ads.

Bartold said the ad, which depicts students in classrooms, was successful when run at the MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20 and cost less than TV time.

Members voted Monday to air the commercial only in theaters.

Ads on the sides of city buses and on billboards also are being considered, Bartold said, depending on location and cost.

“If it’s in a location that gets a lot of traffic, they charge more,” Bartold said.

Bartold told the board the district can accommodate more students.

“At the elementary level, currently there’s only one grade level that has 240 students,” he said. “The rest of them are well below those numbers.

“So it shows we have room in our elementary schools to accept more students.”

Board members also voted to extend enrollment through the Wayne County Schools of Choice program from April 4 through Aug. 12.

“By doing this earlier, we’ll be able to do appropriate staffing better, knowing exactly how many staff members we need,” Bartold said said.

Students in seventh through 12th grades previously could enroll only from May 2 through 20. High schools are more restricted, Bartold said, because they do not have unlimited enrollment and can accept only a few students per classroom.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)