Like most school districts in Pennsylvania, Centennial administrators are looking everywhere for more revenue streams to protect themselves from growing pension payments that have created projected budget deficits for the next few years. If it helps save educational or extra-curricular activities, the Centennial school board may have to consider placing advertising inside the schools.
That is the reason Chris Berdnik, director of business administration at Centennial, and Finance Committee Chair Michael Hartline asked JoAnn Perotti, director of strategic services at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, to present the School Media program to the Centennial school board Tuesday night.
"I am here to help find different ways to help with alternative funding," Perotti told the board. "I want to unlock your educational independence by helping you generate more money."
Under the program, School Media will post advertisements throughout the schools from sources ranging between the Library of Congress to major corporations. They could appear as standard wall posters or lockers and cafeteria tables wrapped with large ads. The advertising would encompass between 10 and 20 percent of each school's square footage.
The program has already been implemented in the Pennsbury School District, Perotti said, and will earn those schools approximately $400,000 over the next several years.
Hatboro-Horsham School District recently added its own policy on advertising, allowing more exploration into partnerships and sponsors.
“We know that with declining revenue through the economy, through state support etc., it’s so important that we begin to look at creating additional revenue streams and support,” Hatboro-Horsham Superintendent Curtis Griffin told Patch.
Perotti said that, depending on how much advertising is placed in the schools, the district could generate between $80,000 and $160,000.
"The ads would contain positive and practical values that would benefit the students," said Perotti as she showed a sample ad that promoted healthy eating.
The matter has been moved to the Finance Committee, which will analyze the program and present its findings at a future school board meeting.