Madison schools’ new rules for ‘backpack mail’ shut out some

Gayle Worland:

The Madison School Board has clamped down on just who can and cannot advertise through the school district’s backpack mail system, a change that has some parents feeling relieved – less “junk mail” for the recycling bin – and others worried they’re missing out.
Tucked in a folder, backpack mail, which regularly heads home with Madison’s elementary school students, still includes school announcements, notes from the teacher, field-trip permission slips and perhaps bills for unpaid lunch accounts. And plenty of ads for nonprofits such as the YMCA, Children’s Theater of Madison and Madison Youth Choirs remain.
But gone are the fliers touting for-profit offerings, such as private tutoring, after-school care, music lessons, karate classes, ballet lessons and kid-friendly commercial gyms.
The policy change adopted last month stems from concerns that a growing amount of backpack mail was taking too much staff time, said School Board president Arlene Silveira.