March 21st, 2011

Honolulu BOE chief pitches ads on campus

Star Advertiser

In a bid to raise revenue for cash-strapped schools, the Board of Education is revisiting proposed changes to its advertising policy that would allow companies to buy sign space on campuses.

The ads would not market specific products, but instead promote positive messages — healthy eating or good study habits, for instance — while displaying corporate logos.

A similar idea in 2005 was quickly quashed by opponents, who said schools should be free of commercialism. They said allowing even limited advertising on campus would set a dangerous precedent.

Board Chairman Garrett Toguchi now says it’s time to take another look at ads on school grounds given the difficult fiscal climate.

Proposed changes to the “commercialism” policy for schools were approved by a BOE committee last week and could go the full board later this month.

“Schools have already imposed all kinds of drastic cuts to save money,” Toguchi said in a memo to board members. “From schools choosing to cancel field trips to the downsizing in athletics to parents having to purchase hand soap and paper towels for their child’s classroom, these needs are real and schools needs alternative ways to (move) … into the 21st century.”

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