'Mutually beneficial'

District keeps eye on corporate deals

How's this sound, Nike's Craig Middle School? Or, Moffat County High School, presented by Bausch and Lomb?

Thankfully, said educators with the Moffat County School Board, the district has a policy to prevent corporations from using public schools to launch an all-out advertising blitz.

The topic -- whether to grant a private company rights to advertise in the school -- was discussed by the School Board on Thursday night. The board granted Blazing Arrow, a Loveland company, limited rights to advertise at Craig Middle School.

The ads will primarily focus on colleges, district officials said.

In exchange, the company will donate four digital projectors to the school, which CMS staff said will be invaluable tools benefiting classroom learning. The projectors are valued at $3,200 total.

Board member Jo Ann Baxter opposed the corporate sponsorship proposal. She said allowing companies to advertise in school flies in the face of her belief that public education should be taxpayer funded.

School district superintendent Pete Bergmann said he thought the deal's benefit to CMS -- acquiring classroom tools that would not be available otherwise -- outweighs its detractions. He said the deal presents "an opportunity to positively impact education in Moffat County."

The school district has acquired corporate sponsorship before. This deal, though, is different because it has more direct influence over learning.

Other corporate sponsorships in the district have been directed toward benefiting extracurricular activities, Bergmann said.

"This sponsorship has more direct classroom application," he said. "It is more connected to the day-in, day-out academics."

The district's policy about corporate sponsorships states that education officials think that "mutually beneficial relationships between the district and corporate or community partners provide the potential of expanding limited resources."

It also keeps control of ad content, use of products and delivery of services in the hands of administrators.

"We're always trying to balance the educational value versus the impact of advertisement," Bergmann said. "If we don't think the ad is going to negatively affect students, we will take a look."

Flag policy

There's a simple reason why the school district won't have much of a problem complying with a state policy mandating that Colorado and American flags be flown at every school in the district.

They're already doing that, Bergmann said.

"The policy we adopted does not change our practices," he said. "Really it's just meeting the letter of the law."

The board approved policy 1311, which stipulates that the flags must be prominently displayed at the administration building, all schools and in every classroom while school is in session. The policy also states that employees and students have the right to wear the flag as long as it does not disrupt learning or cause a safety concern.

The furor regarding flag displays began in Longmont, when flag displays became a source of contention between Anglo and Hispanic students. Legislators attached the flag-display policy to the state finance package, essentially pushing school districts to pass it to receive state funds.

Business donation

The school board has also thanked Chapman's Auto for its continuing efforts to help pay for educational programs in the school district.

On Thursday night, board president Jo Ann Baxter presented a certificate of appreciation to Chapman's owner J.B. Chapman for their "financial contributions to Moffat County."

The business has donated about $6,200 to local schools through its "Keep Education Rolling" campaign. The business donates two percent of its profits through the fund-raiser.

Bergmann said the business has been innovative in helping local schools.

"You could call Chapman's Auto a pioneer in this new direction (for funding) education," Bergmann said.

J.B. Chapman said "Keep Education Rolling" would continue.

"We hope it grows," he said.

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