According to an Erie County newspaper, the Erie School District might soon contract with Thought Process Enterprises and its EDGEclick network to help boost its budget.
Later this month, the Erie School Board will consider whether to enter into an agreement with the EDGEclick Network, a network of public school districts in western Pennsylvania offering banner advertising on district websites.
Allowing EDGEclick — a division of Ellwood City-based Thought Process Enterprises — to place ads on the district’s website, www.eriesd.org, could generate between $15,000 and $20,000 a year for the district, said Matthew Cummings, the district’s director of communications.
He said it’s much-needed revenue for a district facing a $2.4 million budget deficit for 2014-15.
“Not only do we need to find ways every year through the budget process to cut our way to a balanced budget, we also need to find new sources of revenue,” Cummings said. “We’re not going to balance a $160 million budget (on the ad revenue), but if we can generate $15,000 to $20,000 in revenue to help the general fund … then that’s a positive thing.”
The district’s website receives about 1.9 million hits every year, which the district thinks should interest advertisers.
That’s attractive to parents of school-age children, typically between the ages of 25 and 50, who are making purchasing decisions about health care, vehicles and more, said Bob Phillips, marketing director for EDGEclick and Thought Process Enterprises.
“The ability to reach that demographic is key,” Phillips said.
The district would not have to pay to join the network, and EDGEclick handles customer contracting and invoicing. The district would collect a monthly check based on ads.
EDGEclick does not accept ads that show violence; gambling; adult or provocative content; profanity, alcohol or tobacco; personal listings and dating services; or anything political or deemed controversial. The district would have final approval of any ad.
Michael Strutt, superintendent of the Butler Area School District, said Butler’s relationship with the network has been a positive one. Since joining in February, the district has collected $1,000 from ads.
The district is facing a $6 million deficit for 2014-15 and an anticipated $1 million in additional pension costs. Every little bit helps, Strutt said.
“This is an easy way to generate revenue without hurting anybody in the district, asking them to pay more,” he said.