The Dallas School Board discussed whether it would change its advertising policy during a meeting Monday.
Chad Lojewski, a member of the Dallas Educational Foundation, told the board about the group's first fundraising project, which is to replace the school sign on State Route 309 with a digital sign.
The project, estimated to cost about $40,000, will include space for school announcements as well as advertising from local businesses. Lojewski said the advertising would be necessary to create a source of revenue, which will allow the foundation to fund future endeavors.
The foundation is a separate, nonprofit arm of the district which raises funds for scholarships, improved facilities as well as extracurricular or athletic teams' needs.
Lojewski said the current sign does not allow multiple messages to be displayed and requires manual labor to change the message. The computerized, digital sign could be changed via a laptop or other computing device and could display 12 messages in a minute.
Lojewski said he and foundation board members spoke with the property owners of the land where the current sign is located at the intersection of Hildebrandt Road and State Route 309 and they will not allow a sign with advertising to be placed on their property.
The district currently does not allow advertising on campus. Board member Karen Kyle thought there may be issues with other groups wanting to advertise elsewhere on campus that could point to the sign as an example.
Board vice president Bruce Goeringer disagreed with the notion of advertising local businesses on campus and said the sign should be solely for school announcements.
Board president Catherine Wega felt the board should be able to disapprove or discourage advertisers of businesses that would be inappropriate for school students to be exposed to, but wondered if the district could legally do so.
Lojewski also said there would be costs to maintain the sign, but they would be significantly lower than the initial installation fee.
The idea is to place the sign near the entrance to Dallas Elementary and the high school across from the new softball field where a sign has been placed to track the fundraising progress of the foundation.
Superintendent Frank Galicki said that area is equipped to handle the electrical wiring required for the sign.
"This way it would be on Dallas school property, and we would never have fears or doubts about whether it would be sold," said Galicki.
Goeringer felt the State Route 309 location would be the preferable spot, and wanted Lojewski to consider a sign without advertising in order to keep it there.
Lojewski said there would be no revenue stream coming into the foundation if there is no advertising on the sign, making it difficult for future projects to be funded.
Goeringer said he felt the electronic sign would be "splashy" and a distraction to drivers.
Galicki said the board will think about the idea before discussing it further at the regular meeting next week.
The board also discussed a new hybrid learning program for high school math students.
High school principal Jeffrey Shaffer told the board about a program associated with Delacour Inc. and the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 that would allow hybrid learning techniques to be employed in classrooms.
The model the district will use will incorporate using Internet-based programs to aid students in the freshman Algebra I course.
The program, which will cost about $90,000, is largely funded by Title II funding. Galicki said additional funding will come from the Accountability Block Grant. He said the school may receive between $65,000 and $68,000 in these funds, which may help to reinstate elementary tutoring as well.
The board also hired the following employees: Mark Golden as high school technology education teacher with a salary of $35,295; Casey Cicale as high and middle school special education teacher with a salary of $35,542; Douglas Mucha as high school long-term special education substitute with a pro-rated salary of $35,000; and Kelly Guyette as part-time speech therapist at an hourly rate of $28.35.
The next Dallas School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 13 in the administration building.
The project, which is estimated to cost about $40,000, will include space for school announcements as well as advertising from local businesses. Lojewski said the advertising would be necessary to create a source of revenue, which will allow the foundation to fund future endeavors.