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Miami Board approves ads in schools

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Mar 26, 2009  |  Updated 3:53 PM CDT
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Miami schools may soon have a Times Square feel after the board approved advertising inside schools.

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Is that the cafeteria or Times Square?

Miami schools may soon have their gym classes sponsored by McDonald's and homeroom brought to them by Verizon.

That's because the Miami-Dade School Board yesterday approved a policy that will allow corporate ads to be placed inside school walls, according to CBS 4.

The plan is just one of the latest the Board is looking at as a way of generating more revenue, a critical focus as Miami schools are getting hit hard by the tough economy. The ads are expected to bring in millions of dollars for sports and other extracurricular activites.

And now ad companies are salivating at the prospect of peddling their wares inside school halls.

"We can reach a targeted audience of students," Matt Brown, of Global Media Technologies, told CBS 4.

His company wants to put giant cell phone and laptop charging stations in schools, complete with a 17-inch LCD screen and a static, backlit billboard. 

Another company, Action Ads, has proposed installing scrolling backlit signs in every high school, and rep Christina Ostergaarde thinks they'll help the kids.

"These are advertisements for their benefit," Ostergaarde said. "This is nothing that would detriment them in any shape or form."

Students seem to be embracing the ads, but parents aren't so sure.

"Really the budget is hurting right now, and we need to do whatever we can," Katie Condon, a senior at Michael Krop, told CBS 4.

"I don't think they should advertise to kids, it's not good," said parent Michelle Rivero. "It should just be school, they come to learn and that's it."

The ads will be restricted - no junk food or soda, no profanity and no politics or religion - but right now the focus is more on the money.

"I think it's a great idea, I think we need the funds. Why not?" Palmetto High senior Chris Fisk said.

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