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Vt. schools selling ads on campus - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. schools selling ads on campus

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Championship banners line the walls inside the South Burlington High School gym, but so to do ones showcasing places like Supercuts, Verizon and the University Mall.

"Education is expensive and so certainly our kids deserve the very best," said Patrick Burke, the principal at South Burlington High School.

Advertisements like these have been on display in the gym for a few years. Burke says the school brings in $500 a season for each of them and that they're an effective way to offset costs for sports facility needs.

"Any advertisement has to be in line with the mission of our school, so obviously we are not going to accept advertisements from Anheuser-Busch or cigarette companies or something like that," Burke said.

The folks at the University Mall are new to the high school marketing scene. In the last year and a half it's found spots in South Burlington, Essex and Rice High Schools. Their latest marketing effort is inviting students to "like" the mall on Facebook for the chance to win $100.

"We're trying to get into the high schools, that's obviously a specific market and we thought what better thing to do with our money than to give it to our high schools. The athletic departments need it; the schools need it. I would much rather give our money to the schools than some big corporation where I don't even know who they are," said Jamie Polli of the University Mall.

Parents, shoppers, and taxpayers at the University Mall Friday were on board with the idea, arguing that age-appropriate ads in the gyms mean less money coming out of their own pocketbooks.

"I am all right with that. That's a good idea, absolutely," parent Wendy Young said.

"It means more revenue and more revenue means I have to pay less money," shopper Karen Fuller said.

Burke admits the advertising push is all about striking the right balance. He says there's room for more banners in his gym, but doesn't want it looking like a commercial venue.

"I don't think we are ever going to get to the point where, you know, we are going to have naming rights for our gym. You know, this won't be the University Mall Gym or the Hannaford Football Stadium or anything to that extreme," Burke said.

The University Mall is actively looking for new partners and has already created signs for six schools.

Essex High School has similar advertisements for the first time this year. Right now it's partnering with the University Mall for $1,200 a year. The money is helping offset athletic costs for students.

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