Law allows ads on school web sites, but few districts selling space

Arizona school districts can offer bus and web site space for advertising, but it appears few in the East Valley are seeing a big impact from the state’s law, reports the East Valley Tribune. Lawmakers changed Arizona’s statute in the last two years to allow districts to sell the advertising space. The Chandler Unified School District is looking into it “a little bit,” spokesman Terry Locke said. But instead of outside companies’ messages on buses to be seen as they make their daily rounds, Locke said the district has used buses to advertise the district’s own message. “If this is a prime location for advertising, why are we surrendering it?” Locke said. Instead, the district may post information about the number of “A-plus” schools it has, the number of scholarships earned, top graduate numbers, and more. The district has not broached web-based advertising yet. “It’s something we’re looking into, and we’re going to see what response other districts who are ahead of the game … what type of revenue it generates,” Locke said. One school district testing it is Gilbert Unified. In the spring, the district piloted a program to see how it would work with outside vendors on its web site. Two vendors participated: Chandler Healthcare West’s Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and an insurance broker. At this point, the district does not have plans to expand the program but is “seeking our next options,” spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said. Besides the logistics to make advertising happen on buses or web sites, there’s also the perception issue, Locke said. Some might look unfavorably on the ads or be concerned about what message may be seen by students…

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Laura Ascione

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