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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Board looks at ads for schools

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LAND O’ LAKES — The Pasco County School Board wants to explore selling naming rights and other advertising at school facilities in an effort to generate more revenue for schools.

Board members say they are impressed by efforts in Orange County, where the school board has had such a marketing program in place for about four years.

“Orange County raised a significant amount of money with advertising,” board Chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said at a board workshop Tuesday. “A lot of it revolved around the naming rights of facilities.”

Board members didn’t need to prompt the superintendent’s staff much.

“We’re on it,” Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd said.

He said Phil Bell, the district’s athletics director, already has been approached by people about advertising on ballfields. The district had a proposal a few years ago from a law firm that would have generated about $30,000 to $40,000, Gadd said.

Armstrong noted that any plan would require policy changes about naming rights. Gadd said district staff would research the advertising issue and could bring some tentative ideas to the board by early December.

“We want to be thorough about it,” Gadd said.

The Orange County School Board has a nearly four-page policy that governs the rules and guidelines for advertising in that district. For example, no advertising can promote or make reference to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, drug paraphernalia or weapons. Among other prohibitions are anything that is obscene, vulgar or pornographic, and anything that promotes gambling, violence or hatred.

Political advertisements are prohibited. So are religious ones, except for religious groups that lease school facilities. Those groups are allowed to advertise the times and dates of their events.

Under Orange County’s policy, 75 percent of the money generated goes to the school where the advertisement is located and 25 percent is placed in the district’s general fund.

One example of how much money naming rights can generate is a five-year contract the Orange County School Board signed a year ago with the Nemours Foundation, a nonprofit children’s health organization.

Under the deal, the foundation paid $108,000 so that the athletics stadium at Lake Nona High School in Orlando could be renamed Nemours Stadium.

Orange County provides numerous advertising opportunities. Businesses can advertise on the vests that first-down-chain crews wear at football games; on gymnasium floors; on cafeteria menus; on football goal posts; and on billboards at the school district’s five-story parking garage, among many other venues.

rblair@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1853

Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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