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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Pasco panel against selling ads at school venues


LAND O’ LAKES — A committee that explored selling naming rights and other advertising at school facilities in an effort to generate more revenue had bad news Tuesday for the Pasco County School Board.

The advertising would be unlikely to bring in enough money to make the effort worthwhile.

“We were very excited about it (initially),” Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd told the board at a workshop. “We thought, ‘Oh, boy, this is going to be a windfall.’ After looking at this, we asked is the juice worth the squeeze. The consensus of the committee was that this community is not big enough to make this viable.”

School board members asked Superintendent Kurt Browning and his staff in August to research whether Pasco might be able to duplicate what the Orange County School Board has done.

That school district generates a significant amount of revenue from advertising and has a team of six people working to bring in more.

But Orange County has advantages Pasco does not, such as high schools with larger enrollments and involvement from theme parks and the Orlando Magic, said committee member Nicole Westmoreland, a manager in the school district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department.

Board members were disappointed, but they said they understood why the committee couldn’t recommend moving ahead with the idea.

“That was good information, although not what I was hoping to see,” board Chairwoman Alison Crumbley said.

“It is just as important for us to get bad new as it is good news,” board member Cynthia Armstrong 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.

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.

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