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Headteachers short of cash might borrow an idea from Colorado where a school district is selling advertising space on school gymnasia, buses, and even on warm-up jackets for sports teams.

El Paso county's school district 11 has raised around Pounds 66,500, of which it takes slightly more than half and hands the rest to an advertising agency. The goal is to raise Pounds 200,000 for books, lab equipment and other supplies.

Inside the gym at Palmer High School a big sign reads "Go for your dreams! Stay in school! Reilly Buick-GMC Truck". Other posters in the corridors include ones from Pepsi, and Shoney's Restaurant.

Pupils at one primary school ride in buses painted with red roundels advertising 7-Up. Other buses sport Burger King advertisements, designed with pupils' help .

The Public Service Company has bought space for a message featuring Louie the Lightning Bug, a cartoon character which warns children to stay away from electrical power lines.

One of the men behind the marketing wheeze is Jay Engeln, principal of Palmer High School. "We found that one of the things we do have is exposure," he said. "We thought, 'We can start marketing our schools'."

The campaign allows advertising on walls, newsletters, maps, stadium walls and buses. Businesses may also buy space on warm-up jackets for sports teams, but not on teams' uniforms - not yet, at any rate. LH

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