Schools Allowing Ads To Lessen Budget Cuts

The interiors of 16 schools in Pennsylvania's Bucks County Pennsbury School District will be decorated a bit differently this year: They're the new homes to an anticipated 200-plus advertisements -- some as large as 5'x10' -- that will cover walls, floors, lockers, benches and cafeteria tables, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The move could bring in $424,000, a much-needed financial boost amid the district's $3 million budget cut, and according to the Inquirer:

The ads must relate to health, education, nutrition, or student safety, and may not directly endorse products. They tout, among other things, reading and outdoor activities (the U.S. Library of Congress and the Ad Council); organizational skills (Post-it Notes), and concussion awareness (Dick's Sporting Goods).

Although Pennsbury's decision to sell ad space in schools may be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, schools in other states have already taken similar measures to minimize the budget pinch by increasing revenue without raising taxes.

Last month, New Jersey became the first state in the northeast to allow districts to display advertisements on their school buses, noting that districts could earn up to $1,000 per bus by selling ads, The Star-Ledger reported. Other states like Ohio, Utah and Washington had also considered a similar move.

Two years ago, Idaho high school teacher Jeb Harrison started selling ad space on his tests and handouts -- by striking a deal with a local pizza shop.

Florida's Orange County Public Schools have adopted an advertising program that allows marketing in areas including online, on lunch menus, play sponsorships and a parking garage billboard. In about 18 months, the district had made about $270,000, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

While these districts have implemented programs, others are still venturing into the field. Late last month, North Carolina's Guilford County schools discussed at its school board meeting proposals to permit marketing, ranging from ads inside schools to selling naming rights for school stadiums and buildings, WGHP-TV reported.