LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County School district wants to spend $180,000 on marketing the district and what it has to offer students.
One possible slogan would be "SimpLEE the best," and they've printed up mock fliers to showcase what it would look like.
District Communications Director Amity Chandler says it would be money well spent. She says, "we know that now, parents and students have choices, they don't have to come to public schools. They can go to private, collegiate, charter, they could do some combination of virtual schooling, and in return that means lost revenue when students and parents don't chose public schools. We have to articulate to our consumers what we do and how well we do it so they're making informed choices, when they chose an educational route for their students."
She says with about 90,000 students in the district, it comes out to about $2 per student, which is a small price to pay. "We believe that dollar figure is incredibly modest but would ensure that we could better communicate with all segments of Lee County. I believe that most parents are under the impression that it's just reading, writing and arithmetic and they don't realize that students can earn a 2 year degree by the time they graduate, take a series of honors courses or have a career certification when they graduate."
The money would pay for direct mailers and other marketing and advertising projects. The money would come from next year's budget and the school board would still need to vote on it.
She says, "when you market and you are able to attract students, you are able to increase your budget and you have more money to spend on students. So we either promote what we're doing and make sure people understand we have really good choices in Lee County schools and we gain revenue, or we don't promote and people begin to chose other options."
But some taxpayers say they don't think it's worth the money. Beth Gordon, whose kids go to Lee County schools, says, "if I were to chose a public or a charter it would be a charter but it wouldn't be because of advertising, it would be based on grading and how the teachers perform, not by a piece of paper. It would be a waste of money for me to get this postcard in the mail."
Carlos Valentin, a recent Lee County graduate says he likes the idea of promoting the district, but thinks $180,000 is too much money.
Right now, there are about 11,000 students in Lee County charter schools, but numbers on how many students have left the public school system to go to charter or private schools were not available.