From Jim Metrock: The Fauquier County board of education has agreed to bring at least 11 electronic billboards into their secondary schools. What?!
Why would a school board do that?
They are the only school district in Virginia, that we know of, to sell their students to the controversial, California-based SkoolLive youth marketing firm.
The board and the people advising the board didn’t do their homework. Will SkoolLive’s commercials that will be playing in school hallways enhance the educational environment or will they tend to be disruptive? That’s an easy question to answer for most school board members, but evidently a difficult one for those in Warrenton, VA.
BTW Fauquier County board members, I bet you didn’t understand the ads will be video ads (think TV commercials) with sound along with static ads. The sound will have to be loud enough for the advertisers to get their message to schoolchildren above the noise of class changes. And I bet you didn’t pay any attention to the student educational records part of the contract.
The good news for Fauquier County Public Schools is they are leading their state in something.
The School Board recently approved a revision to an advertising policy that will allow for a three-year contract with SkoolLive, a digital kiosk producer. The 5 foot tall flat panel monitors will feature touch screens and be placed in numerous areas of the high schools.
Louis McDonald, director of technology services for FCPS, said that the schools will receive 20 percent of the ad revenue from the signs.
SkoolLive claims some schools receive between $200 to $500 a month per kiosk in earlier installations, according to McDonald.
“Basically, our share is 20 percent of the net revenue paid on a quarterly basis,” he said. “SkoolLive makes no guarantee or promise as to a minimum amount, if any, of ad revenue to be paid to the school division.”
The digital signs will be given to the schools free of charge, said McDonald. The school system will be responsible for the cost of necessary power lines to run the signs.
McDonald said that estimates for the instillation could be up to $1,000 per sign.
SkoolLive will be responsible for repairing any damage to the signs, maintenance and replacement if the technology fails.
The company will be in charge of soliciting ads. The school system will have the power to approve or disapprove of all ads before they go up in schools.
Businesses in the community, and even parents, may have the opportunity to buy ads.
The ads will appear at the top and bottom of the screen. The middle portion of the screen will show content developed by the schools.
“There’s a lot of instructional-type content that we could push down that could really serve some specific objectives like higher student achievement,” said Francis “Frank” Finn, assistant superintended for student and special education services.
He suggested promoting applications for advanced placement classes, Mountain Vista Governor’s School and South Eastern Alternative School at Monday’s board meeting.
The screens will have many other functions like showing maps of the schools or allowing students to purchase dance tickets or yearbooks digitally.
“We felt that this was a win-win situation for us,” said McDonald. “The schools will be able to put up advertisements. Maybe we can get some of the banners off of the walls that clubs put up.”
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