Signs Point to Controversy

Billboards were proposed near Dexter schools to gain additional revenue; board tables discussions

By: Nick LeBlanc and Caden Koenig

To kick off the year, Dexter Community Schools created a proposal to increase revenue for all of its constituent schools. The proposal is for two electronic billboards that would project advertisements.

According to dexterschools.org, the billboards are predicted to generate over $40,000 each year (twenty thousand each). The billboards are planned to be placed on the corner of Shield and Baker Road and on Dexter-Ann Arbor Road, east of the current traffic light. To go along with the two billboards, the proposal also included a request for one pedestrian-actuated warning system — a crosswalk much like the one already on Shield Road, where lights flash to warn passing cars of pedestrians. This would make the trip shorter and safer for students who walk or bike to school. Lastly, the school would get free advertising at anytime on both of the billboards.

If the billboards do become a reality, according to dexterschools.org, every advertisement has to follow Board Policy 9700, which states that there cannot be any advertisements that promote alcohol, drugs, sex, religion, political opinion, violence, or R-rated material.

The reason for the proposal of these signs is that they would help the school district immensely with funding for certain academic necessities that run out near the end of the school year, such as lined paper. In addition, planners have been fading out due to lack of funding, leaving students without the commodity that has been consistently provided at the high school in previous years. Some teachers at the high school have discussed the positive outlook on the billboard project’s ability to provide revenue for the school.

“Wherever the revenue ends up, it will hopefully loosen up money from the general fund for other student-driven initiatives,” DHS math teacher Paige Lumpiesz said.

However, as always, there is opposition to this proposal too. People feel like the light pollution could be annoying, the billboards could be distracting, and some don’t see why the school system can’t just pursue a grant.

Some opposition may be unwarranted, however, because according to the proposal, the billboards have no light effect on any nearby houses due to their low-light nature. The proposal continues by saying neighboring houses with porch lights on will have more of an effect than the billboards. The argument that they may present a distraction is viable. The distraction to drivers is a possible danger because there are constantly new drivers going to and from the high school, and they could grab the attention of experienced drivers too much as well.

As of early March, discussions between concerned citizens and the school board in regards to the new billboards have been pushed back until later in the year.

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