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The 5 Craziest Ways Public Schools Are Trying to Make Money

Even when economic times are good, most public schools are hard up for money, scraping by on outdated textbooks and school lunches made up of food rejected by prisoners. And economic times are not good.

Without getting into the politics of the situation, in general there just isn't enough money to go around for public schools. That means the schools have to get creative to make up the gap. After all, when the children's futures are at stake, should anything be off the table?

Well ... maybe.

#5.
Plastering Ads Everywhere

The moment we started talking about ridiculous ways schools are trying to raise money, half of you immediately thought, What, are the plastering ads all over the buses? Ha!

Actually, they totally are.

Via braincocoa
Obesity 101.

For example, schools in Colorado, Kentucky and New Jersey have all passed laws allowing ads to be splashed right on the side of their buses. It's perfect if you think about it: Your kids can start learning about the stark economic realities of life before they even get to school. "Lesson one, Billy: If you're too poor or young to own a car, then you have to ride a big yellow billboard to school every morning."

Via Houston Press
And how's your credit rating, Billy? That goes on your permanent report card, you know.

And, hell, why should it end when they get to school? Dammit, if there isn't at least one advertisement within full view of each child every second of the day, we're leaving money on the table! That's why other school districts are allowing gigantic ads on school lockers.

Via Star Tribune
In a subtle fuchsia tint.

But you have to think beyond just the walls -- think about all of that paperwork the schools are always handing out. You know, grade cards and stuff. Look at all the blank space around the margins! Surely you could cram some goddamned ads in there. And sure enough, some Florida schools decided to let the local McDonald's advertise on student report cards, provided that McDonald's paid roughly $1,600 for the envelopes. Never one to let an opportunity at America's youth go by, McDonald's bit on the offer and came up with this:

Via Advertising Age
Is this a threat for the children with low grades? Because that's just tasteless.

Of course a shitstorm of protests ensued, but the school board held firm. Besides, what makes bad news about failing grades go down better than a nice, juicy Quarter Pounder?

#4.
Cash4Gold

Cash4Gold will be to this recession what the soup lines were to the Great Depression: a sad symbol of desperate times. It brings to mind weeping mothers mailing off their antique jewelry to be bought and melted down for pennies on the dollar.

Getty
You're not truly desperate until you trust your priceless heirlooms to the U.S. Postal Service.

So it only makes sense that after your child has learned the valuable lesson of how the modern economy runs on giant pictures of hamburgers, he or she can learn another valuable lesson about the market value for Grandma's old necklaces. Kids at Norton Elementary in Georgia got to witness this dynamic first hand when the school held a three-day cash for gold event on school grounds, during school hours.

Via wsbtv.com

Now, it may be a fine idea in principle to turn the school into a pawn shop for three days to drum up some quick cash for the school, except that people getting rid of their valuables for quick cash were under no particular obligation to donate the cash to the school. Because of this, it's completely conceivable that Grandpa pawned his gold teeth and pocketed all the cash, leaving the school high and dry.

Getty
Sooo ... your Grandpa is pretty pimp?

Ah, what are we talking about? Pawn shops always attract the classiest customers! Wait, do those old wrestling trophies in the main hall display case have real gold on them? Melt that shit down! We have books to buy!

iStockPhoto
Wait, the price of gold has dropped? Burn the books, we've got a mob to start!

#3.
Working the Casinos

It may not be surprising to hear that gambling gets used occasionally to raise money for good causes. Hell, numerous states already use proceeds from the lottery to fund schools -- that's basically the same thing.

Getty
So presumably this guy surrounded by hookers is the world's greatest philanthropist.

But not to be outdone, 83 Catholic schools in Alberta, Canada decided to go a step further and have charity casino nights. And we're not talking about using Monopoly money to play roulette while everybody giggles and drinks punch. We're talking real casinos. Parent associations formed the casino nights where the parents volunteered at actual local casinos for four to six hours of work while the other parents gambled. Because of the low overhead for the casino, the schools walk away with a ton of jack, usually somewhere around $70,000 for a single night of work. Holy shit! Why doesn't everybody do this?

Getty
Oh yeah, the "gambling" thing.

Realizing that raising funds via keeping Mom and Dad glued to the Blackjack table was probably not the best for the school's image, the Archbishop of Edmonton called for an end to the practice ... and was immediately objected to because the schools were making too much money off it. With an expected $6 MILLION expected from gambling over 18 months, the schools have no way to replace that kind of revenue. The money is used to help fund school meals, field trips and classroom equipment.

Getty
"Our math lesson today is how putting your college fund on double-pay bonus spins will really increase your payout on the slots."

Though can you imagine how much of a dick you'd feel like if you hit the fundraiser casino on a hot streak and cleaned them out? "Jackpot! I'll take that payment in the form of textbooks and janitors, bitches!"

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