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The school board approved installing the scoreboard in early March, and the district is awaiting the city of Savage’s approval of the conditional use permit application April 21, said Terri Dill, Savage’s senior planner.
Among board members, Richard Wolf was the lone dissenting vote.
Wolf believes the ads surrounding the board violate the district’s policy on advertising because students will be “inundated with visual and audio advertising.” The policy says the district should “avoid using students, employees and school patrons as a captive audience” and prohibits “promoting products/private interests,” although it gives the superintendent final say.
The eight main advertisers also will receive additional promotion via banners hung in the school gym, a move that especially irks Wolf.
“It doesn’t add anything to the athletic competition,” he said.
Rodine said he’s aware of Wolf’s concerns, but “It’s kind of the world we live with right now.”
“I understand what he’s saying. It’s like, ‘Have we gone too far?’ ” he asked. “You know what? Maybe we have. But we want to be able to benefit our students as best we can.”
But Kelly said there are ads everywhere already, including at the ice arena where the school’s hockey teams play.
Sara Wintheiser is part owner of Speiker and Company, a Prior Lake tax and insurance company that bought a $10,000 anchor spot on the scoreboard. “It’s just something that’s a perfect fit,” she said.
She doesn’t believe there is an ethical issue with advertising, because teens are unlikely to seek out tax or insurance services. “We’re not trying to get the students’ business,” she said. “We’re just trying to support the community.”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283