SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 30, 2010

Notes to parents to soon have ads

Peabody committee says sales could raise $24,000

PEABODY — "This permission slip is brought to you by your local Ford dealership. Have you driven a Ford lately?"

OK, maybe that's a stretch. But it's not far off from the Peabody School Committee's latest step to raise money for the cash-strapped district.

On Tuesday, the committee approved selling advertising that will appear on notices sent home to parents from the district's eight elementary schools. The ads — 10 business-card-size placements — will appear on the back of each sheet of paper sent home to parents. That includes any type of notice, permission slip and more.

The initiative is expected to raise between $20,000 and $24,000 for the district. Although a relatively small amount, it could be a boost. This year, the district has tripled bus fees, added fees for nonprofits to use school buildings and cut teaching positions in response to declining state aid and revenue.

"It's a way of raising some revenue and a way of letting parents know which companies support our schools, and hopefully that will give them business," School Committee member Dave McGeney said. "They support us, we should support them."

The committee began to consider advertising dollars as a new source of revenue during budget talks last year. The committee built $15,000 into the current budget in anticipation of the advertising funds.

Various groups, such as the yearbook and drama clubs and the football team, sell ads in their publications to raise money for their individual groups. This schoolwide initiative, however, is new.

"It's the first time, to the best of my knowledge as the superintendent, that the school is selling advertising to offset school budget cuts," Superintendent C. Milton Burnett said yesterday.

The ads will be sold to local businesses at a rate of $300 per ad, per school. Each school sends about 10,000 letters home per year.

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