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School Corporations Respond To Choice Program With Ads

Education Leaders say they are more concerned about keeping current students than recruiting new ones from other schools.

Students getting off a bus

Photo: Bil Shaw/WTIU News

Some corporations say the state's School Choice program has forced them to compete in different ways.

Some public school corporations across Indiana have added a new item to their spending budgets — advertising. Some taxpayer dollars are now bankrolling television, newspaper and internet advertising. Many say it is a product of the state’s School Choice voucher program which gives parents more freedom to choose where to send their kids to school.

Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent Mark Mow says his district will spend $20,000 of its $85 million general fund on advertising to attract students.

“We need to make sure that the program offerings that we have are attractive and meeting kids’ needs, and I think if we do that, enrollment will take care of itself,” he says.

Mow says the amount is not large, but is necessary to remain competitive, adding says his district has bought billboard space around Elkhart. He adds the primary goal is not to attract new students, but to keep current pupils from moving out of the district.

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