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Board of Education Tables In-School Advertising as Source of Revenue

Board members chose not to move forward at this time with the idea of possibly advertising in schools, on buses, and on the website as an alternative way to generate revenue.

Matawan and Aberdeen students won't be seeing advertising in school hallways anytime soon. 

During the board of education's committee of the whole meeting Monday night, the board opted to remove three resolutions authorizing Advantage3 to move forward with researching advertising at the high school, middle school, on 14 buses and on the district website.

In total, the district would have had to dish out $17,980 - $7,500 for the high school, $5,000 for the middle school, $2,030 for 14 buses and $3,450 for the website - in initial fees for Advantage3 to conduct research and build an advertising profile.

The one-time fee would be earned back through the generated revenue, an Advantage3 representative explained at the April presentation. Participating districts earn 100 percent of the revenue generated until the fee is recouped, and after a district earns about 80 percent depending on the location of the advertisement.

Board member Ken Aitken said he is not entirely against the idea of using advertising as a source of alternative revenue, but he is not comfortable with the idea of advertising inside the classroom or on the website.

"I haven't really seen what they do with advertising [on websites] but I don't want anything on the website that takes away from our message to parents," Aitken said. "It would be nice to get some offsetting revenue but I think people go on the website to find out what the school is doing, not to necessarily be distracted by ads."

Board vice president Elizabeth Hayward agreed with Aitken, noting that she initially envisioned the advertising to be outside the classroom on athletic fields or scoreboards. She also expressed concerns about advertising on buses being distracting to drivers. 

"I know we have the right of refusal, but I think drivers have so many distractions as it is that I want people out there to see a school bus and be mindful of the safety concerns that come with a school bus. they're carrying our children I think drivers have so many other distractions I don't want someone reading what's on the school bus and not stoping or pausing to write something down," Hayward said.

The board ultimately agreed to remove the in-school advertising resolutions from the Oct. 22 action agenda, but did not entirely throw out the idea of utilizing advertising to generate revenue.

"What we're going to do is withdraw this for action at the next public meeting... and what we'll do is we will ask the superintendent to speak to Mr. Strimple further regarding the input that the board members just gave," Board president Charles Kenny said. "Then we can have further discussion among the board, and we can develop perhaps some options that are acceptable to the board in a tailored fashion, or not."

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