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Funding idea: Pay to name a school

By Associated Press
Published August 16, 2003

FORT MYERS - Lee County school officials are considering selling school naming rights to businesses or individuals who make significant donations of money.

"Growth in this district has absolutely gone out of control, and we are not able any longer to delay finding alternative revenue streams or significant cost-cutting measures," said Robert Neeld, a member of a budget advisory committee.

The district is also looking at letting businesses buy advertisements in school buses..

Officials say the southwest Florida county will need at least 40 new schools over the next decade at a cost of almost $1-billion.

School board members heard a proposal from School Bus Advertising of Jupiter,which would solicit businesses willing to buy ads placed inside buses above side windows. Six paid ads in each of 700 buses would generate about $200,000 the first year, the company says.

But some school officials see bus ads aimed at a captive audience as bad policy.

"I don't want to see billboards "Eat at Joe's' or even "Drink Milk' ... where children have to ride for 40 minutes and be subjected to that commercialism," said board member Steven Teuber.

[Last modified August 16, 2003, 01:47:29]

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