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I got a few questions from readers about some new San Diego Unified billboards that have cropped up around the city. They have simple slogans such as “Educate Elevate Graduate” and “Committed to Successful Futures” along with photos of smiling students and a teacher. One reader even sent me a photo:

I called up Linda Zintz, interim director of communications at the school district, to learn more about why San Diego Unified was advertising itself. Most people know about the public schools, right?

Zintz said sure — people know about the public schools. But with all the news of budget cuts, strife over a labor agreement and the regular spats on the school board, the ordinary stuff can get lost.

“It’s just to put a face on who we are,” Zintz said. “Sometimes we forget the true faces of our district and what we are really all about — our teachers and our kids.”

ClearChannel Communications approached the district with an offer to advertise San Diego Unified at a discounted rate, Zintz said. The five billboards would normally cost $10,000 but ClearChannel gave the schools a discount rate of $1,700 total. The contract was signed on Jan. 26 before the spending freeze went into effect in San Diego Unified and after the communications department had cut its budget.

The billboards went up this week and will remain until at least March 8.

Click here and here for images of the two billboards. And click here for more from Schooled — if you’re not there already.

EMILY ALPERT

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