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Trenton School Board to End Contract With ARD Despite $30,000 in Revenue

Alternative Revenue Development has provided about $30,000 in revenue to the district since entering into a contract with Trenton Public Schools about two years ago.

Advertisements found on the Trenton Public Schools website and scattered about school grounds will no longer be provided by an external service effective Nov. 1.

Board members voted in favor of terminating an agreement made with Alternative Revenue Development (ARD) at Monday's regularly scheduled board of education meeting.

Board members stated  the reason behind terminating the contract was due to a lack of response and failure to provide the school district with the financial report for sales between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, included in the agreement between the district and ARD.

"It been, obviously, problematic to get proper accounting and proper payments and timely payments from the very beginning of the arrangement," board member Dennis Bearden said. "I think the board has been very patient, along the way, in trying to work this out and work through the initial start-up phase, but we are quite a way down the road and it seems to me they're (ARD) still not making great progress."

ARD creates non-traditional, significant & sustainable revenue streams for Michigan school districts via commercially sponsored networks, according to the ARD website.

ARD Cheif Executive Officer Sam Curcuru spoke on behalf of the company after the vote was made. He stated the district had earned over $30,000 in revenue and all of the issues between ARD and the district are growth related.

"If you're not comfortable in moving forward and continuing with the program, that's fine," Curcuru said. "I will have the formal letter to you on Wednesday and we can terminate the agreement, but if you took the moment necessary to look and do a little research to see the growth and the expansion of the program, I think that it deserves more consideration."

He added Trenton Public Schools has received more revenue from ARD than any of the 50 other Michigan school districts that use the service.

"They're killing the golden-goose," Curcuru said."

Superintendent Rod Wakeham said the decision to terminate the agreement was not without significant consideration.

"There was some difficulty in following the agreement," Wakeham said. "That’s where the situation has come from, and the district feels that there are other avenues we can pursue and accomplish some of the same things."

Wakeham said district officials will begin reaching out to local businesses.

"I think we could service our community much better than by utilizing ARD," Wakeham said.

The original agreement between ARD and Trenton Public Schools was expected to end Nov. 1, 2012, at which point the agreement would have been reevaluated and a vote would have been made to continue or end the agreement.

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