Nightly News   |  October 01, 2011

Selling advertising in schools

Tough budgets for the classroom have forced schools to get creative to make ends meet. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> at our education nation summit here in new york this past week, we heard over and over again about the problem many districts are dealing with right now, severe cuts to their budgets. and that is leading some to resort to unique and controversial measures to make money. it is a real sign of the times . that story tonight from nbc's janet shamlan.

>> reporter: the pep rally at winter park high school packed the auditorium. but along with cheerleading on the football team , ban ners here support a couple of restaurant chains , a sportswear maker and a local yogurt shop. and at game time , the announcements are no longer just for ravels and bake sales .

>> you need the spleet sports drink . power aid.

>> reporter: call it the new math in education funding. cash-strapped districts like this one outside orlando, have resorted to selling advertising in schools.

>> we were looking at serious cuts. it was going to affect teachers and programs and athletics. enough hue and cry came up that we had to do something.

>> reporter: seven states now allow ads on school buses . in this high school in minnesota is putting them right on student lockers. a blend of education and commerce some object to.

>> children are absolutely awash in commercial messages these days out of school. and that's why it's more important than ever to protect some space where children can just be kids and not be targeted as consumers.

>> reporter: so what type of money does advertising bring into education? well, here at winter park high school , the partnership with panera bread draws $3500 a year. the district even created a new position, director of sales.

>> pizza hut here that sponsored the back of the ticket backs. not only did it pay for these but it brought in another $20,000 to the district.

>> reporter: in total, advertising has earned the district $450,000 since it started two years ago. still a drop in the bucket in a $1.4 billion budget.

>> but every little bit helps. and it helps preserve some of those things that we're in fear of being cut when budgets were being slashed.

>> reporter: some easy money in tough times, as schools look for new ways to make ends meet. janet shamlian , nbc news, winter park , florida.