August 29, 2000
For Immediate Release

Andrew Hagelshaw, Center for Commercial-Free Public Education 510 268-1100
Ruth Robarts - Vice President, Madison School Board 608 238-2273
Matt D. Nelson – Madison Resident 608 262-9036
Judy Gump – Madison Memorial High School Teacher 608 294-0380

Madison School Board Votes to Leave Coke Contract
Becomes First School District to Enter, Then Leave Exclusive Contract

Madison, WI- The Madison School Board voted Monday, August 28 to end the school district's exclusive cola contract with the Coca-Cola corporation. Madison was among the first school districts to sign an exclusive cola contract in June of 1997, and now becomes the very first to cancel an already existing deal.

"This vote was very significant, and indicates the new trend of rejecting exclusive cola contracts around the country," said Andrew Hagelshaw, Executive Director for the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education. "Madison helped start a trend in 1997, and now will start another. Districts are realizing that these deals only take advantage of under-funded schools and turn students into a captive audience for brand name advertising… and for an unhealthy product at that."

Community opposition to the Coke contract in Madison had grown significantly during the last three years. A group of 60 parents, students, teachers, and community members showed up to Monday’s meeting, several of which testified in opposition to the contract. Board members stated that they had received "overwhelming public opposition" to the Coke contract. The final vote registered 5-2 against Coke.

Several other proposed deals have been rejected nationally this year, including a $43 million deal with Coke voted down by Philadelphia schools in January 2000. Sacramento (CA) schools recently voted down a Pepsi offer and are now investigating whether soda machines belong in schools at all. The Dental Associations of Michigan and Pennsylvania recently came out publicly in opposition to exclusive cola deals.

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