School district again to debate policy on corporate sponsorships

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Members of the Moffat County School District Board of Education plan to discuss what role corporate sponsorships should play in bulking up district funds at Thursday's meeting.

The district is in its second year of a three-year Pepsi contract the board passed by a split vote in 2002.

Opinions still waver among school board members, administrators, teachers, students and parents on whether the deal was financially justified or if it conflicts with the distirict's educational message regarding good nutrition.

Pepsi products are sold in 15 machines at the Moffat County High School. The district receives nearly $11,000 a year from Pepsi for the sole right to carry its products. Some high school student groups receive profits directly from individual soda machines.

School Board member Gary Ellgen said he was looking forward to discussing with the board its stance on future corporate sponsors.

Ellgen said he wouldn't oppose recognizing some local mines and other local businesses that have played a role in supporting school functions. But he wasn't sure what level of advertising that kind of support should receive.

"If the community wanted to help us (financially) we would want to recognize that in a small way," he said. "We certainly wouldn't want to have that advertising on school buses or in a place that would disturb the learning environment."

Ellgen said he voted in favor of the Pepsi contract because its logo only appeared on the machines.

Yet Ellgen said now he'd vote to completely eliminate selling soda at the high school if that option ever came before the board.

"I'm not sure if kids need to be taking that to class," he said.

Students may sip soda in class with teacher permission.

Superintendent Pete Bergmann said he's received an increase in businesses wanting to donate to the district.

That's why he put the item up for board discussion.

"I want to make sure we have the right guidelines in place as this evolves into the future," he said.

District policy drafted last year states its support of corporate sponsorship as providing "the potential of expanding limited resources that will positively impact the programs and students of Moffat County."

The policy also states that proposals for corporate sponsorship will be directed to the superintendent and then forwarded to the board for approval.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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