In a cash-strapped Idaho high school where signs taped near every light switch remind the staff to save electricity, an enterprising teacher has struck a sponsorship deal with a local pizza shop, reports The AP: Every test, handout and worksheet he passes out to his students reads MOLTO’S PIZZA 14″ 1 TOPPING JUST $5 in bright red, inch-high letters printed along the bottom of every page.
“I just wanted to find a way to save money,” said Jeb Harrison, who teaches history and economics. “We have to sell ads for our yearbook, for our school newspaper. I don’t think this small amount of advertising will change my classroom.”
School officials were not wild about the idea, but Pocatello High School Principal Don Cotant relented after Harrison explained the advertisements could help illuminate such topics as the Great Depression.
“I had concerns. I didn’t know what this would open up for us,” Cotant told The AP. “But we’ve let this happen because it makes a point about what economic hard times can force people to do.”
As school districts across the country face the worst economic outlook in decades, educators who have long reached into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies are finding creative ways to cover expenses. But selling ads on schoolwork is practically unheard of.
Molto Caldo Pizzeria, about a mile from the high school, agreed to supply paper for Harrison’s five classes — 10,000 sheets, valued at $315, and imprinted with a pizza ad. That should be enough paper for the rest of this school year and all of the next one.
On a recent day, Harrison handed out photocopies of Dust Bowl images, emblazoned with the pizza ad. The ad also appeared on an economics test he gave last week on the Depression.
“I thought it was a great idea. I mean, the levy didn’t pass. We can’t get enough money from the state. We’ve got to find some way to get it,” said one of Harrison’s students, 17-year-old Benjamin Simms.