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Putting ads in school discussed in Forsyth, Guilford Cos.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Triad's two largest school systems are considering a company's proposal to put ads on cafeteria walls, activity buses and sports facilities, among other things.

Education Funding Partners has approached both Guilford County Schools and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

GCS will begin its talks with the company on Wednesday, while WSFCS has been in talks for a while and will look at a written proposal in April.

"Given how much we've lost in funding over the past three or four years, I think our board wanted to at least be open to the idea," said Theo Helm, WSFCS spokesman.

The Colorado-based company said its advertising can generate $10-20 more per student per year in WSFCS. That's estimated to bring in up to $500,000 more per year. Eighty percent of the ad revenue would go to the district, while the company keeps the other 20 percent.

"They pool together different school systems across the country so they get a big enough customer base so national advertisers would be interested," said Theo Helm, WSFCS spokesman.

A company spokesperson said they only partner with companies that promote health, wellness, arts and literacy. It would never partner with McDonald's, for example, the spokesperson said.

Individual districts have the option of picking their ads, the company spokesperson said.

Parents in Forsyth County are mixed to the idea.

"Why not put it in there? It's everywhere else. School is probably only place it's not in," said Michael Brooks, a dad.

"I think our young kids are exposed to so much that we have to be very vigilant to what they are exposed to regardless of what the financial gain is," said Lauren Tuttle, a mom.

"Booster clubs already sell advertisements in stadiums," Helm said. "There are already advertisements in gyms and things like that as it is now. What is more harmful: more advertising in a school or not enough money to put in teachers like you'd like? Ultimately our board will make that decision."

The company was started in 2010 by UNC-Greensboro graduate Mickey Freeman. It has contracts in California, Texas, Florida and Virginia and includes Staples and CVS as its sponsors.