In May we hopped about this ad-adorned Dallas County Schools bus, one of many so decorated courtesy an ad agency specializing in school-bus advertising (hence the name of its website). As Dallas Independent School District spokesman Jon Dahlander explained at the time, the district contracts with Dallas County Schools to run the buses, and DCS splits the revenue from ad sales with DISD and the seven other districts with which it contracts. We never did find out how much money DISD actually makes off the deal, but courtesy a Public Citizen report issued last week, we now know: not much, not much at all. Says the report, titled School Commercialism: High Costs, Low Revenues:
Dallas Independent School District: DISD is the fourteenth largest school district in the country. With 157,000 students, the district has an operating budget of $1.174 billion for the 2011-2012 academic year. The district cut $76.9 million from the previous year's budget. DISD's advertising program generated $12,059.44 between August 2010 and February 2011. Assuming a similar amount of revenue for the remainder of the school year, the district's advertising revenue amounts to 0.002 percent of the total operating budget.
But, the report notes, DISD is considering a "broader program," which, of course, we already knew. So happens that's the subject of a Texas Tribune-provided piece in this morning's New York Times, which looks at how other districts around the state are selling space wherever they can to make up for the loss of state funding; Humble ISD, matter of fact, has sold off every piece of its football stadium. (DISD would also like to sell the naming rights to its facilities, one day.) All of which concerns at least one researcher who studies the impact of ads in schools: "It's a nice thing for a company to get into schools because they are really getting this market young and vulnerable." Read the Public Citizen report below.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.