Ads at Aspen schools?
ASPEN, Colorado Local companies may soon be able to buy seasonal advertising signs on the athletic field at the Aspen School District, and in least one of the high school gyms. The revenue would go toward upkeep of the districts athletic facilities.At Tuesdays school board meeting, the board was generally in favor of advertising at its athletic facilities, but differed on the details. Superintendent Diana Sirko plans to bring a tentative plan back to the board for discussion and she plans to do it soon, so the board does not miss too many chances to sell advertising this year. The plan will offer details, such as who can buy advertising, what it will look like, where it can go and how long it can stay up.The district stadium and the new high school gym already have advertising on the scoreboards. More advertising, if done in a tasteful manner, would be a good revenue source to support our activities and our athletics, argued Sirko at Tuesdays meeting. However, she noted that she would not support advertising within classrooms.Board policy prohibits tangible and permanent recognition of donors on school property, but it does not prohibit temporary recognition.Athletic director Carol Sams pointed out that the new Glenwood Springs High School sells approximately $20,000 to $30,000 worth of advertising per year. That money funds their athletic programs, she said.Board of Education member Elizabeth Parker supported advertising on the field, since it is a community asset that is shared with the city. But she did not support signs recognizing an individual or family donor.Fellow board members Laura Kornasiewicz and Fred Peirce concurred.After the meeting, Peirce explained that at earlier meetings, the board had developed a position against naming its facilities after donors.The board just decided that recognizing donors by permanent naming of facilities is not appropriate for a publicly-funded school district, he said. Theres a sense that some of us on the board feel that when you come to school, you shouldnt necessarily have the names of some of your classmates in your face because they have a lot of money and you dont. He noted that every parent in the district contributes money by paying taxes, and argued that one family should not receive recognition over another just because it contributed more.And finally, he said the board worried that naming classrooms or buildings after families with children still in the district could send subliminal pressure to teachers about how those children should be treated.Despite her support for advertising on the field, Parker didnt agree with putting advertising in the gym, pointing out that classes are held there.Theres just a part of me that loves the idea of kids growing up without billboards, she said.But fellow board member Charla Belinski pointed out that many students spend more time on the field than in the gym, since they often eat lunch on the field. And she noted that if the board wanted seasonal advertising, it would make sense to allow advertising in a gym.Peirce added that the gyms could also be considered a community space, since they are places to which the district regularly invites the community.Ultimately, noted Kornasiewicz, advertising could end up being a concrete sign of the communitys support for the district.I think it says to the community that the community is involved with the school, she said.The district has had one recent request to advertise at its concession stand, according to Sirko. But both Sirko and Sams said they frequently receive inquiries from parties wishing to advertise at the districts athletic facilities.The last time the district dealt with the issue of advertising at its athletic facilities was when it asked board member Ernie Fyrwald to remove an advertisement for his real estate firm, Morris & Fyrwald. The sign was on the scoreboard at the athletic field but faced Maroon Creek Road. The board decided that their original agreement did not allow the part of the sign that faced the road.