A national animal rights group has offered a cash-strapped school district an undisclosed amount of money if it allows ads in school promoting alternatives to animal dissection.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has approached dozens of schools across with country with the offer, said it found out about the Kutztown School District's financial woes over the Internet.
The group recently sent a letter to Superintendent Nicholas Lazo Jr., offering to pay money if the school allows the posting of ads that say, "STOP SCHOOL VIOLENCE. DO YOUR HOMEWORK - CHOOSE NOT TO DISSECT." Different versions of the ad feature rats, frogs and fetal pigs.
"We believe it is inappropriate for a school district to subject students to any such advertising," Lazo said in a statement, adding that PETA is "not the first entity to offer to provide something of value to the district in exchange for advertising access to our students."
Lazo also said Kutztown already makes available to its students "a computer-based dissection option that we have found to be very successful."
This week, amid community protests, the school board approved a $28 million budget that calls for the elimination of nearly 13 teaching positions.
PETA spokeswoman Ashley Gonzalez said the group has made similar offers to dozens of schools across the country in the past few years, but none has accepted. Some schools, however, have taken the group up on its offer of free software that allows students to perform digital "dissections," Gonzalez said.
"We are always on the lookout for schools that can benefit from our support," she said.
The group has not specified how much money it would provide to a school that allows ads to be posted, but said it would depend partly on how many ads were placed and in how many schools.
"We'd have to sit down with them and work out how much exposure we would get," Gonzalez said.