Advertising to return to Seattle schools

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SEATTLE - The Seattle School Board has voted to allow some commercial advertising on school grounds.

The board on Wednesday night unanimously approved the change as it struggles with a $23 million budget gap this year, but some parents objected.

You might remember when you could drive by Franklin High School and see the Pepsi logo on the school’s sign. Those days of sponsorship ended in 2004, and the district lost more than $1 million in revenue that was being used to support student activities.

Ads now will be allowed at high school sports fields, on scoreboards and on wall calendars. The ad revenue will go into student activities and the district's general fund.

Before the vote, Kathy Biscardi of Seattle spoke out against the ads.

“I think that schools are a safe haven and should continue to be so from advertising,” she said. “Students are bombarded with enough advertising via television, via the internet, when they’re driving down the street.”

When ads were banned, the district had to find other ways to support student activities like transportation to sporting events. In many cases, that meant students paid higher fees to participate.

The district said selling ads now could offset the revenue losses of the past, but the district doesn’t know how many dollars could be made.