On December 14, 2010, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) approved a measure by a unanimous vote to allow schools to pursue corporate sponsorships to promote extracurricular programs that my be shut down to the district’s large budget shortfall.
The current approval does not allow for sponsorship from gun, tobacco, or alcohol companies, and the deal does not allow companies to sell products to students directly. Instead, the promotions, which can value up to $500,000, are to establish a corporate identity that may include limited signage and other corporate branding.
School district officials state that the potential ad revenue for this project is approximately $18 million.
Critics of the plan have expressed their concerns, stating that although LAUSD Superintendent Cortines has stated that the advertising will not be offensive, that any advertising in school’s is an offense that has the potential to sway young minds. Further, they note that the $18 million generated by this program may do little to help stem the blood loss from the LAUSD’s coffers.
While this amount may seem small, it may prove vital in keeping extracurricular activities, often among some of the first things cut in a budget shortfall, running until tax revenue picks back up. Further, unless brighter ideas can be found, other contend that some revenue is better than a smug air of superiority and a lack of much-requested student-services.