Our School District Banned Flier Distribution. How Will We Survive?

When my sons were in elementary school, they brought home dozens of fliers per week that urged them to sign up for karate, junior cheerleaders, swimming lessons, crafts camp – you name it! The same set of fliers made their way out of my kids’ backpacks and into the recycling bin week after week.

Our school district e-mailed us the following notice:

Beginning in August, fliers from outside community organizations will no longer be distributed to students in their classrooms, but will appear on the District Website and in school offices.

Why the change?

  • Conserving classroom time – Each year, office staff, teachers and parent volunteers spend hours distributing pieces of paper from outside groups to our students. This is one way our District is joining others across the county and state by electronically featuring community fliers.
  • Reducing paper waste – Last year, each student took home at least 100 fliers, meaning our community distributed almost a million pieces of paper to students!

The notice explained that parents can access the fliers via an E-Fliers link on the district’s website and from the district’s e-newsletter.

But what about families who don’t have Internet access?  They can pick up a paper flier from the school office. (Organizations are allowed to distribute 30 copies to each school.)

I’m guessing that schools throughout the world deal with flier overload. While I applaud my district’s choice to axe flier distribution (finally!), my heart goes out to the wonderful community programs that will no longer be able to spread the word about their services in the “traditional” manner.

These organizations will now be forced to innovate. They’ll need websites. They’ll need to get actively involved on Facebook (after all, both the kids and their parents hang out on Facebook). They’ll need to send recruiters to schools to hound the kids (Oh. Wait. Only the military’s allowed to do that).

“Budget cuts” is the phrase of the decade. When large organizations (such as a school district) who partner with small organizations (such as the local martial arts club) make policy changes, will the little guys have a backup plan?

How can their organizations continue to thrive and grow when their strategic partner throws a curve ball at them (or in this case, a paper airplane)?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  • Carrie Schmeck

    In our school district, we no longer get report cards, either, for the same reasons. That felt strange but I guess it cuts down on the opportunities to alter those Fs to Bs (not that anyone reading this would have ever done that!).

    If these community organizations learn even a tiny bit about Facebook or Twitter, I think they might actually more effective than they were with fliers. With two boys, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been handed a handful of colored half-sheets…far after the fact of whatever they advertised.

  • Jan

    When I was a kid schools didn’t give out fliers. They’re just one more kind of ad. But maybe each school could have a bulletin board where non-profit groups could post fliers.