Schools consider allowing advertising

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – In an effort to raise money, Dearborn Public School Board of Education members are exploring allowing advertising on school property.

During the board’s regular meeting Jan. 23, Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen asked the board to consider permitting advertising in school buildings and athletic facilities to generate revenue, potentially up to $100,000 per year. The advertising would be placed on football fields, gymnasium walls and the district’s website.

“The question that we have here is to ad or not to ad,” Mustonen said. “It’s an important question, a philosophical one, that the board is gong to have to address.”

Mustonen said he believes the measure will pass, but the board must monitor the ads for inappropriate sponsors or messages.

“I think that they will move forward, but they want to be very cautious,” he said. “They want to look at all the possibilities on how to generate revenue, but not cross the line and overdo it.”

The district has policies in place that allow advertising. Developed in 2005, they also provide guidelines that determine how ads are used, including prohibiting ads that interfere with students’ education. Mustonen said the policies may be reviewed by a committee of parents and school staff to determine if they meet the district’s needs.

“The bulk (of the guidelines) may be fine,” he said, “But there may be things that may need to be tweaked.”

No timetable is set for a decision, but the Board Policy Committee, comprised of Trustees Pamela Adams, Hussein Berry and James Schoolmaster, who review all district policies and bring the findings to the board, will meet throughout the school year and review the guidelines.

Trustee Aimee Blackburn said advertising is a positive method of community outeach. She said in addition to the committee, she would like to see local small businesses pay less than larger businesses.

“I would like to see us move forward on this,” she said, “because it’s happening (nationwide) whether we move forward or not.”

Trustee Mary Lane was against advertising, calling it “wasted money.”

“I have a lot of qualms … when a student comes home with a textbook that says ‘Geography brought to you by XYZ Corporation…’” she said.

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

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