State-funded vouchers for parents to put toward private and charter school tuition have been a long-running issue before the Texas legislature. But should public tax money be going to fund private institutions? The battle lines have been drawn and everyone has an opinion.
Cuero High School students prepare to jump for a t-shirt shot out of a gun by a representative from Games 2U Friday during Gobbler PRIDE Day. Students played games, learned about issues such as distracted driving and attended a career fair before being off school for a week for Spring Break.
In Texas, the Humble Independent School District is pioneering a practice that an increasing number of districts across the state are adopting: selling advertisements on pieces of school property (buses, textbook covers, in-school television monitors, scoreboards, Web sites and more) to help make up for some of the money lost through state budget cuts.
In Humble, Cynthia Calvert, owner and found of Steep Creek Media (the middleman company between school districts and would-be advertisers) estimated that the total advertising sales since 2007 for the district had exceeded $1 million. For $100,000, a GMC-Buick dealership has bought the naming rights to the entryway of the high school stadium. A Mazda dealership paid $350,000 to have its name on the turf there. Waste Management bought the press box naming rights for $45,000 over a three-year period.
But with school leaders under pressure to find creative financing sources and few state-level guidelines about what is appropriate, some researches question whether schools fully grasp the consequences of commercialism creeping into public schools.
“There doesn’t seem to be a real handle on the part of the school districts for what they are getting into,” said Faith Boninger, a researcher with the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who studies how advertising in schools affects students.
Do you think districts should be able to fundraise through advertisements on school property?
Kaleb Vendl, 13, laughs as he and others at the Boys and Girls Club make cards for one of their friends on Wednesday.
Kaleb won the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year award after collecting letters of reference, writing an essay and giving a speech.
"The saddest part is that Kaleb doesn’t feel like he has anyone backing him," Hoke said. "But he is a shining star at the Boys and Girls Club. He has more support from his dad than many of the other children have. Some parents use the Boys and Girls Club to raise their children for them."