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updated: 8/14/2012 5:38 AM

Glenbard Dist. 87 so far supports scoreboard ads

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Glenbard High School District 87 is a step closer to attaching scrolling LED advertising panels to existing indoor and outdoor scoreboards at its four campuses.

It's an attempt to bring in extra revenue to help fund capital programs at the schools; by one estimate, the district could collect up to $100,000 annually.

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On Monday, the school board discussed a proposal from iHigh, a firm that provides online streaming of Glenbard athletic events, to coordinate advertising sponsorships for the LED scoreboards.

While a formal vote to approve a contract with iHigh will likely be considered in September or October, no board member on Monday explicitly expressed opposition to the plan.

One board member, though, reiterated previous concerns of his that the school district not follow the path of college sports, where people have become "bedazzled with dollar signs in their eyes."

"I don't feel like it's a good idea to discourage this (proposal)," board member Tom Voltaggio said. "But I am concerned from a societal standpoint that we are getting sucked into this dollar vortex of sports in this country."

The district would receive all ad revenues until it could pay off the cost of the eight scoreboards -- estimated to be about $187,000 -- or until the start of the third year of an eight-year contract with iHigh, whichever comes first.

After that, Glenbard would split ad revenues with iHigh in which the school district would receive 80 percent and iHigh would receive 20 percent.

"We understand advertising is a slippery slope," said Rod Molek, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for human resources and student services. "We want to make sure we have total control of what goes on those sites. We will have the opportunity to turn down advertising where appropriate."

The LED boards are expected to operate only during athletic events, not during the school day.

An online district survey found 62 percent of 454 respondents were in favor of "limited and family appropriate" advertising on the LED boards during athletic events. Another 17 percent said they would possibly be in favor.

Board member Mary Ozog suggested that some of the advertising dollars be used to fund nonathletic programs that used to but no longer receive vendor revenue, such as those generated by pop machines.

Molek said he expects school building principals and booster groups to recommend certain capital projects in need of funding.

If approved by the school board, LED boards could be installed as soon as next summer.

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