Niles, Brandywine hope new marketing program will mean dollars

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Both Niles and Brandywine schools have decided to participate in the America's Schools Program, a new marketing approach designed to help provide school districts with additional funding.
The program is intended to raise money for K-12 educational programs by providing a partnership between school districts and corporations through the use of the America's Schools symbol, a star with the letter S inside of it.
The money is raised by having participating corporations pay sponsorship fees for using the symbol on their company's products. The corporation's use of the symbol sends a message to consumers that their company supports public education.
There is no cost for schools to participate in the program.
The school districts need only to show their support to the program by using the America's Schools symbol within their district.
The Brandywine Board of Education voted to approve the district's involvement in the program at its last school board meeting and Niles superintendent Doug Law said the Niles Board of Education is expected to announce its participation at Monday night's school board meeting.
Brandywine interim superintendent Gary Campbell said the current challenging financial times for schools in Michigan, make this program a great opportunity for additional funding.
He encourages parents to support the products and services who participate in the America's Schools Program.
The program is brand new, so neither superintendent has any idea how much funding will be generated.
With the support of state and national school board associations and corporations like Smiles Coffee and Scientific Utility Brands already on board, both superintendents think the program has a good chance of success.
Campbell, who received the start-up packet from America's Schools on Wednesday, likes that the program allows schools to receive money from supporting corporations without having to display advertising at the schools.
Campbell said the fact that the funding can be used by the school district as they please is another benefit of the America's Schools Program.
Law said Niles schools will most likely participate in the program by displaying the symbol on school doors and on their website.
Campbell said Brandywine will also be displaying the symbol somewhere in the schools and possibly on the district's letterhead and website.
The superintendents do not expect to see any funding until the end of the 2004-2005 school year, but said it just made sense to participate in a program that might end up providing funding at no cost to the schools.

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