Advertising on high school
IDs off table, for now
September 2, 2008
The quick answer is no: There will not be advertising on
the back of Missoula high school student identification
That idea was dropped Wednesday almost as soon as it was
broached at the Missoula County Public Schools'
Personnel, Negotiations and Policy Committee. But the
potential of raising education money through advertising
remains interesting to school district trustees.
We're not saying no, never, committee chairman and
Trustee Scott Bixler said. But this is such an
important component of our schools, we want to make sure
we do it right. But for the time being, the idea of
advertising on the IDs is off the table.
Big Sky High School officials had brought the idea to
the school board after being approached by a local
insurance broker to put a small ad on the back of the
student identification cards. Before the conversation
could get much further, MCPS attorney Bea Kaleva pointed
out the deal wouldn't mesh with the school district's
In particular, ID cards didn't clearly fall into either
school district property, publications or broadcast, as
allowed by the policy, Kaleva said. It also refers
mainly to athletic or activity programs as places to use
That conflicts with the new MCPS goal of directing all
effort at improving student achievement. But it prompted
the trustees to take another look at their advertising
policy to better craft it for future proposals.
(Advertising) is something that's going to generate
much-needed revenue for our schools, Board Chairwoman
Toni Rehbein told the committee. But there's a
difference in having an ad on an ID card or on the back
of a fence in a ballfield. I'm just not comfortable with
I'm very conflicted about this, added Bixler. I'm a
strong advocate of advertising. We need to do that. And
if we're going to ban advertising in schools, we've got
to go to school uniforms. Advertising is already in our
schools - brought in by the students themselves.
He referred to all the logos, slogans and other branding
on students' clothing, backpacks, shoes and other
possessions. But he said when the school administration
gets involved in a business deal with an advertiser, it
must be very clear about what's allowable and where the
money goes. That's not clear in the current policy.
MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle said he wanted the
rules clarified, and quickly.
If it's not clear what direction we're going. We're
going to have these questions come up all the time, he
told the committee. And if it takes a lot of time
dealing with these issues, it's off-center for what
we're doing with student achievement.
Missoula Education Association President Jack Sturgis
said the teachers union was open to the idea of more
school advertising, but that any money earned should be
spent as close to student needs as possible.
Apostle proposed drafting some minor changes that would
strengthen the policy without an in-depth rewrite. Those
changes should come before the trustees in the next few
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