In Langhorne, Pennsylvania, a cash-strapped high school near Philadelphia hoped to raise money by auctioning itself on eBay. The starting bid of just under $600,000 for The Learning Center, was designed to offset steep budget cuts. A tongue-in-cheek listing described the alternative school for at-risk teens as “pre-owned” and “slightly used.” The winner wouldn’t own the facility, which is part of the Neshaminy School District. But he or she would get a plethora of goodies, including a naming opportunity, a free large pizza, a personalized school coffee mug and the chance to deliver a speech at graduation. Not to mention the satisfaction of “delivering an education to a group of kids who could really use it,” according to the ad.
The listing even tugged on eBay users’ heartstrings. “Your competition has its name on a billboard or on the side of a truck that’s emitting gas fumes. Yours is on the front of a school that’s changing lives,” the listing read. The 7,000-student district had endured a pair of teacher strikes as the school board said it couldn’t afford to meet the union’s demands. The Learning Center Principal said she hoped the auction idea would draw the attention of a wealthy benefactor. Nine bids were submitted (amounts not shown), but the eBay listing was removed by Neshaminy school district officials. The School Board President said that the school board would need to authorize any fundraisers. “These people are great people and they are being very creative with this, but I just think that they got the cart before the horse,” he added. One of the organizers said he was given approval to post the ad by the former superintendent who recently retired. Note: So, is this a viable fundraiser? Maybe. Maybe not. But it certainly is something to think about!