Published Online: March 5, 1997

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Seattle Board To Review Plan To Allow Ads in Schools

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The Seattle school board is likely to follow Superintendent John Stanfords lead this week and put on hold a controversial proposal to allow advertising in the districts schools.

The superintendent recommended last month that the school board postpone action on the plan for corporate advertising in schools so that a committee can review the plan.

Mr. Stanford's recommendation followed widespread protests by Seattle parents, teachers, and students opposed to in-school advertising, said Linda Harris, the school board's president.

"People have just come out of the woodwork against advertising," she said last week.

Ms. Harris said the delay would allow a committee of parents and teachers to review the proposal and outline guidelines for in-school advertising that would satisfy concerned members of the community and still provide much-needed funds for the financially strapped district.

"We're in a terrible financial crisis," she said. "We need [the community] to stop worrying about this policy and focus on the real crisis." The school board proposed the advertising plan last fall to bring extra money into the 47,000-student district, Ms. Harris said.

Several districts nationwide have followed the lead of the Colorado Springs, Colo., district, which in 1994 began accepting advertising on its fleet of buses. The policy has brought thousands of dollars to the 33,000-student district. ("Schools Look Beyond Budgets for Outside Income," Dec. 7, 1994.)

Corporate advertising could also help pay for such items as athletic uniforms and building maintenance, Ms. Harris said.

"We've just been taking heat, and we haven't made one dime in six weeks," Ms. Harris said. "It's time for the public to grapple with this issue."

--LAURA LANG

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