• Controversy surrounds Orange County Public Schools' ad revenue

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County has already agreed to let advertisers inside schools, but Channel 9 has learned school leaders haven't agreed on who's going to get the money made from those ads.

    The problem is that bigger or newer schools would make more money from the ads than other schools.

    Under the proposed policy being discussed Tuesday, schools with the most lucrative ad space will get to cash in.

    For years, the only way to get your name on a high school stadium was to be very well known, like Dr. Norton Baker, a surgeon who became the namesake of Boone High School's stadium.

    Now, all it takes is cold hard cash, as school districts like Orange County are looking for innovative ways to generate much-needed revenue.

    "As we see ever-shrinking federal and state dollars for public education, we've got to do all we can to maximize that revenue," said school board chair Bill Sublette.

    Lake Nona High School is the first Orange County public school to sell naming rights to its stadium.

    Nemours Children's Hospital paid $108,000 to have its name there in big, bold, red letters.

    Under the proposed policy, schools like Lake Nona would keep 60 percent of ad revenue, and the district would get 40 percent.

    Sublette initially pushed for the district to get all the money and then distribute it fairly, but he's satisfied with the compromise.

    Sublette points out that a school like Lake Nona, which sits along a busy road, clearly has more valuable ad space than a school like Jones High School, where traffic is significantly lighter.

    Parramore business owner and Jones alum J. Henry likes the new way of getting money for education, but he doesn't want schools like Jones to be at a disadvantage.

    "They may not get the opportunity like Lake Mary, Winter Park, simply because it's a better location," he said.

    Ads have generated nearly $1 million for the district since the district started pursuing them more than three years ago.


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