To balance budgets, schools allow ads
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Centennial trademarked the William Tennent High School name and its panther mascot’s image, and signed a licensing agreement with Modell’s Sporting Goods. Board member Mark Miller, himself a marketing consultant, said Internet companies often sell apparel bearing school logos, without paying fees. With its trademark, Centennial can curb that.
This fall, licensed T-shirts went on sale at Modell’s in Warminster, with athletic bags to follow. The district gets a 20 percent cut. Schools also circulate Modell’s discount coupons, for a percentage of sales, and Modell’s signs are in the high school stadium and gymnasium.
Want to be noticed at a one- or two-day Centennial event? Sponsoring the “Your-Name-Here Invitational” is $5,000; an “Invitational Presented by Your-Name-Here” is $3,000.
That’s not all: State Farm Insurance pays Centennial $5,000 to put a sign on the high school stadium ticket booth and set up tables at games, as well as inside the school, to sell policies. A local auto dealership donated a pickup truck with accessories, worth $35,000, for the right to display advertising on it. Ford is holding vehicle test drives on school grounds; the district gets $20 for each participant. And a credit union opened inside the high school in return for helping school business classes and hiring student interns.
This year, Centennial raised taxes more than 4.6 percent and cut 28 jobs. Nonetheless, school board member Jane Schrader Lynch voted against the Modell’s deal.
“I don’t want to commercialize schools; some of these arrangements are doing that,” she said. “The focus should be on education. To me, it’s not worth the money.”
Contact staff writer Dan Hardy at 215-854-2612, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @DanInq