The Pepsi choice

Moffat County School Board to decide on issue of sponsorship tonight

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The Moffat County Board of Education will decide tonight whether to accept a $25,000 offer from Pepsi to give it sole distribution rights in Moffat County High School.

A representative from Pepsi came before the board at its July meeting with the offer.

If the school board were to accept the contract, the district would be agreeing to only have Pepsi machines in Moffat County High School and have a Pepsi banner hung in front of the scorer's table at Bulldog wrestling meets.

Pepsi is asking for a seven-year contract, and would pay the school district $25,000 up front.

After a lengthy discussion at the July meeting, board President Phil Hastings, who was skeptical of accepting the offer, suggested a decision be tabled until the August meeting so board members could get more feedback from the community.

"I've got some concerns philosophically," Hastings had said. "I'm opposed to any corporate sponsorship within the schools. I think support for any sport should come from the school budget."

Some board members said they did not see where signing the contract with Pepsi would make the situation any different than it is now, other than the fact that the district would have $25,000 extra to spend on capital improvements for the athletic programs.

Superintendent Pete Bergmann advised board members to listen to feedback from the community, then make a decision on what they thought would be best for the district.

Hastings said this morning that he had talked to about 10 people in the community about the issue, and said it was about an even split on those who are for sponsorship and those who are against it.

Bergmann said he had also received calls about the issue since the July meeting and said opinions have varied.

"There has been quite a bit of feedback regarding that issue," Bergmann said. "It's been a mixed bag of views. Some say take the money and run and some say don't open the door to advertising."

The board meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight but a "Let's Listen" session begins at 6:30 p.m., during which time community members have an opportunity to voice their concerns.

That session tonight will be devoted to a discussion on whether to accept the offer from Pepsi, Bergmann said.

"The board will listen to people's opinions at that time," he said. "It will be interesting to hear what people have to say."

Hastings agreed.

"We'll see what we hear tonight," he said. "I hope we have some community members there voicing their opinion."

Later in the meeting board members will vote on accepting Pepsi's offer.

In other business the board is scheduled to:

Hear a report on the revised goals and vision statement of the school district.

Consider approving the first reading on a revised policy regarding graduation requirements.

Consider a bus bid.

Consider approving the first reading of a policy regarding salary in lieu of medical insurance.

Hold a discussion regarding math task force recommendations.

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