Barclays "Advertising" on P.S. 58 Playground Has Parents Talking

The signage, sponsored by the Barclays Nets Community Alliance, has parents talking.

New signs advertising the Barclays Nets Community Alliance at in Carroll Gardens has caused a stir among some parents in the community.

The signs, which appeared on the fence earlier this month, display the Barclays Center (a.k.a. ) and Nets logos, and the slogan “Building Success Together.”

Parent Melissa Dadourian, 42, felt uneasy with the signs’ placement.

“It’s kind of weird to have advertisements outside of a public school,” she said.

The signs are part of a partnership between Barclays, the organization behind development of the new Barclays Center sports arena, and Out2Play, a non-profit organization that partners with donors and corporations to renovate schoolyards in public schools throughout the city. Renovations on the P.S. 58 schoolyard were completed in November.

Nick Higgins, 33, says he’s never been comfortable with advertisements on school property. Even the addition of Snapple machines in school cafeterias, he says, is too much of a corporate encroachment.

“There’s a certain amount of corruption inside public schools and certain institutions that I’m not happy with,” he said.

The Barclays Nets Community Alliance was formed in 2007 as a way to support local community organizations. Barclays spokesman Joe DePlasco says that the company has worked with Out2Play since 2008, selecting a group of playgrounds from a list of yards that the department says are in need.

DePlasco says there is no requirement for a school to put up the signs – on Henry Street, another school sponsored by Barclays, doesn’t have them. But according to an email release from P.S. 58 parent coordinator Joan Bredthauer, the signs are part of an agreement between the school and Barclays.

“I do not know why they were not received for display sooner,” Bredthauer said in the email.

Still, some parents have no problem with the two signs, which are located on the corners of Carroll Street and First Place on Smith Street. Jan Kowalski, 50, wishes there was more community outreach from large businesses.

“If there’s community support for public schools, I think that’s a good thing,” Kowalski said. “I support the business community supporting public institutions, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a sign on school property.”

And some parents, like 30-year-old Richard Dilone, have never even noticed them.

“If it betters the community, then why not?” Dilone said. “And it ain’t even that big of a sign.”


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Peter Krashes June 14, 2011 at 12:58 PM
The report does not say how much money has been donated or what the work the Nets Community Alliance is paying for is. Is the amount around $250, 000 as I heard? If so, that is a very small amount of money for a playground. Truly renovating a playground costs a great deal of money -- millions. Imagine what the future is going to look like if this is the standard that is set.
Michael Brown June 14, 2011 at 01:55 PM
So you feel that there should be a certain threshold for donations to be recognized? And that information should be made public? Who sets the threshold? Who decides what the number is? Is it static, or is it a percentage of overall work done? Enough is enough. They donated a LARGE sum of money, they have a tiny sign. Lets just hope it doesn't make the kids Nets fans.
Ariane Ben Eli June 14, 2011 at 04:00 PM
It is unfortunate that in order to meet their needs, public schools are increasingly forced to undertake huge partnerships with private donors. PS 58 experienced an enrollment increase of 120% (the school serves nearly 800 students this year, up from 377 in 2005-06, according to the DOE) while it simultaneously faced punishing budget cuts that reduce per-pupil funding. If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way, 10 teachers will be laid off even as the school faces another enrollment increase in the 2011-12 school year. Given this fiscal reality, the principal cannot reasonably allocate money from the school's budget for schoolyard renovations, even of that renovation is badly needed. Donor recognition is a complicated but important topic. Such recognition encourages giving, and adequate funding is essential for schools to be able to meet their missions and visions, wherever the money comes from. But there is something tasteless about putting advertising on the school's fence. But...a quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money. Alas. It's best not to conflate vending machines in schools with donations for capital improvements. If I wanted my kid to drink Snapple, I could send it in her lunch bag. I don't. I don't want the school to enable her to buy it, either. But if a donor gave a million dollars to the school to renovate the auditorium, I wouldn't be averse to putting a memorial plaque over the auditorium doors, even if the donor was Goldman Sachs. Argh.
Eric Torrey June 16, 2011 at 06:33 PM
I think a sign is a SMALL price to pay for a new playground. Parent's should be jumping up to THANK Barclays for the playground, not criticizing them. Look at your school books, there is a logo there for the company that published them. How about your children's clothes? logo/label? Do you think the milk your kids drink in the cafeteria is there if the Dairy Association wasn't making some sort of profit from it's sale? Come on people...
Andy Tantillo July 22, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Give me a break! There must have been some monetary benefit for the playground/school. That's a good thing. People should be more annoyed and vocal about how the mayor/board of ed/city council is taking things away from our schools and kids.


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