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Missouri school districts sell ads to local businesses

May 12, 2018

WENTZVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Several Missouri school districts are allowing businesses to advertise at sports and extracurricular events as a way to increase revenue without relying on taxpayers.

The Wentzville School Board revised district policy in 2016 to allow business advertisements, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

“We owe it to our taxpayers to explore alternative funding sources,” said Wentzville Superintendent Curtis Cain.

Restaurants, real estate agencies, hospitals, banks and other businesses can now pay for different forms of advertisements at the district’s events, said Derrick Docket, Wentzville’s marketing director. Docket was hired this school year.

The school board must approve every corporate sponsor, he said. Sponsorship packages can range from $1,000 to $20,000 a year, and include advertisements such as PA commercial spots, signage and vendor booths.

There hasn’t been a formal decision regarding what advertising revenue will cover, said Cain, but the district would like to steer the money toward student activities.

District officials maintain that advertising won’t be allowed into classrooms.

“It’s important for us in this program to be tasteful when we do it,” Docket said.

Parkway, Fox and Columbia school districts also have launched advertising programs. Parkway has signed advertising contracts worth $1.3 million since starting its advertising program in 2015.

Parkway has 24 corporate sponsorships, including Raising Cane’s and Mercy Hospital, said Patty Bedborough, chief financial officer. The district’s sponsorship options range from $5,000 to $75,000 a year.

“I think this is a program that will go well into the future,” Bedborough said. “I think it does have high potential as being that extra revenue source to help with student activities.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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