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When his San Diego area school cut the printing budget, calculus teacher Tom Farber came up with a way to fund his tests and quizzes: He sells ads on tests.

Some are pithy one-liners, hawking the names of local businesses: “Brace Yourself for a Great Semester! Braces by Henry, Stephen P. Henry D.M.D.”

Others are inspirational quotes, like “Keep the company of those who seek the truth, and run from those who have found it – Vaclav Havel.”

Farber spends more than $500 on printing in a year; Rancho Bernardo High now gives him $300.

Farber’s customers pay $10 for an ad on a quiz, $20 to be on a chapter test and $30 for a spot on a semester final. Some of the quotes, either personal ones or by famous people, are paid for by parents.

Farber has made $350 so far, and still has ad space for next semester.  His surplus will help other math teachers pay for supplies.

Some students say the inspirational quotes help them deal with stress.

Luke Shaw, 17, was less enthusiastic. The senior said a recent sponsorship that was the name of a structural engineering company didn’t do anything for him.

“I’m always hoping that someone will sponsor it with a trig formula or something useful,” he said.

My father had a friend who put himself through college during the Depression by selling ads on report cards. School districts saved on printing costs.

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  1. If it’s like most schools I’ve seen, less luxurious furniture in the principal’s office would have more than paid for the printing. Not to mention what they could have saved on superfluous non-teaching personnel…