A school board in Colorado is so desperate for revenue that it is selling advertising space on the report cards that students at 91 elementary schools take home.

Jefferson County Public Schools has sold about $90,000 worth of two-inch ads over three years from an arm of the state government called Collegeinvest, according to 9 News in Colorado. Collegeinvest administers college savings programs and is interested in a captive audience — parents of elementary school students.

The revenue from the ads isn’t much compared to the $70 million in budget cuts that the board expects to face in the next two years, the station reported.

School board spokeswoman Melissa Reeves told the news organization AFP: “We’re obviously looking for revenue generators and taking them where we can find them.”

That means other ads could follow the ones for college savings accounts. In fact, this isn’t the first time this issue has arisen, and the ads weren’t for college savings plans, but for hamburgers.

Several years ago in Seminole County, Fla., students in K-5 grades took home report cards in envelopes with ads from McDonalds, offering a free Happy Meal to kids who got good grades and behaved well in school. After parent protests and a protest by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the practice was dropped.

Ads for state college savings funds seems relatively benign — and some may see them as a public service — but the slope is slippery.

If there is one place kids should be free from the bombardment of corporate advertisement, it’s in school, report cards included.


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