View Full Version : Cash strapped schools go corporate

04-23-2004, 07:13 PM
By Geoff Mulvihill Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 18, 2004

BROOKLAWN, N.J. (AP) -Students at Alice Costello School don't go to "the gym" to shoot baskets or "the library" to read books.
Thanks to the school district's sale of naming rights, they get their exercise at the ShopRite of Brooklawn Center and flip through books at the Flowers Library and Media Center.

If officials get their way, the students might not even attend Alice Costello School anymore - a new name could be chosen by the highest bidder on eBay.

The grade school's corporate naming blitz has been criticized by some - back in 2001, Sports Illustrated called the renamed gym "This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse." But as voters weigh an unpopular property tax increase to balance school budgets, the school is being touted as a model of creative fund-raising.

"Anything a school can do to be entrepreneurial, so much the better," said Dana Egreczky, a vice president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Voters across New Jersey will decide Tuesday whether to approve local school budgets. It will be the first time since Brooklawn began selling naming rights in 2001 that local voters have been asked to raise their property taxes.

Superintendent John Kellmayer says if the state did more for the one-school district of 300 students near Camden, such unusual efforts would not be needed.

"A lot of smaller districts are fighting for their survival. What we're doing here is going to be the norm in 10 years," Kellmayer said.

Across the country, corporate underwriting has become common at many schools - from advertisements in yearbooks to company-sponsored sports scoreboards and band uniforms. Several states allow limited advertising on school buses.

The Brooklawn school has an arrangement with Pepsi that is fairly common. The soft drink maker has all the soda machines in the school and the district gets a cut of the proceeds, about $3,000 per year.

But the district's naming rights effort went a step further, starting in 2001 when the new gym was christened ShopRite of Brooklawn Center. The owner of the local supermarket agreed to pay $100,000 over 20 years to have his store's name displayed on the outside of the gym.

Naming rights for the new library were sold to the local Flowers family for $100,000.

The sponsorship deals have been ridiculed on talk radio and in other media. But Bruce Darrow, school board president, said he is not deterred by bad publicity.

"The only thing I regret now is ShopRite got off so cheap," he said.

Darrow has some other ideas, such as placing ads on the sport teams' jerseys or company logos in the basketball court's free-throw lanes. He doesn't like the idea of requiring school uniforms, though if ads could be put on them, he'll listen.

But it's his idea of selling the right to name the entire school that is likely to create waves.

The concept is not a new one, but so far it is rare. The cash-strapped Belmont-Redwood Shores School District in California is looking for corporate sponsors. Marilyn Sanchez, assistant to the superintendent, said companies would not be allowed to entirely rename the school. For example, the Central School could become known as something like "Central School, sponsored by Intel Corp."

Kellmayer said he has talked to eBay about the possibility of auctioning naming rights, but so far it's only an idea. Other districts have auctioned unused school buildings as real estate on eBay.

Lynn Heslin, whose 13-year-old daughter Amber is in seventh grade at Costello, says she's open to the idea of renaming the school if it would benefit students.

But Kathleen Maass, a former school board president, said she would vote against changing the school's name, which honors a former teacher and principal.

"There are some things that shouldn't be for sale," Maass said. "Alice Costello did a lot for the school and I don't think they should sell her name."

04-24-2004, 08:29 AM
One would think education would be a funding priority of our state government. There's no better investment in our country's future than its youth.

So we here in TX have a Governor who wants to finance schools with revenue fron strippers, smokers and gamblers. Of course, at the same time $ are being spent trying to convince people from doing those very things. sheesh...

Will someone in Austin who has a clue step forward and lead us to the promised land?

Here's a story that's closer to home (if you're in NoTX).
Carroll ISD rejects corporate naming deal

Board seeks more cash from Dr Pepper to rechristen natatorium
09:16 PM CDT on Saturday, April 10, 2004
By LAURIE FOX / The Dallas Morning News

For now, the Carroll school district's natatorium won't be called the Deja Blue Aquatics Center, but it may only be a matter of time.

School board members turned down the corporate naming proposal last week, but not because they disagreed with the concept. They just wanted more money than Dr Pepper Bottling Co. was offering to promote its brand of bottled water.

But they aren't sure how much they should ask for, prompting the district to pull back and look at its prominent facilities and decide what the going rate should be.

"We have something to sell: space," said trustee Steve Lakin. "We should be the ones to put a price on that. Companies want these deals, but they don't want to spend a dime more than they have to.

"We need to be able to say, 'Here is what our price is. Come and get it.' "

The financially strapped district has been dealing in the marketing, advertising and sponsorship business for some time, looking to raise revenue.

With almost one-third of its $62 million budget earmarked for the state's school finance system, the property-wealthy district appointed a revenue enhancement committee several years ago.

Like some area districts, it has considered ads on school buses and other district property.

But in considering naming rights for such large athletic facilities as the natatorium and Dragon Stadium, Carroll has entered a more elite category.

Highland Park, for instance, started selling permanent naming rights to dozens of its facilities in spring 2002 to bring in additional money.

Naming rights to Highlander Stadium run $10 million. The rights are $1 million for the natatorium and $50,000 for the district's planetarium.

So far, no donors or corporations have taken the district up on the offer.

But a few other stadiums throughout the state have been renamed through sponsorship agreements.

The Forney school district sold naming rights to its stadium for $1 million for 15 years.


In Carroll, Dr Pepper has offered to pay the district for the right to name the indoor swimming center after its bottled water.

The Dr Pepper deal sought to extend a contract with the company by five years. Dr Pepper's current contract gives the company exclusive rights through 2008 to sell its products at Dragon Stadium and in some district vending machines.

The district is also negotiating a five-year, $250,000 deal with Aeropostale, a clothing company, for naming rights to Dragon Stadium.

Harry Ingalls, Carroll's assistant superintendent for operations and budget management, said the school district is "plowing new ground" in naming its most prominent facilities.

"This is new territory for public school districts," he said. "We're learning some things about the process and the market."

He said the district is most often approached about its sports facilities because Southlake is strongly identified with its athletics programs.

Mr. Ingalls said the school district could better market itself once it has a schedule of fees for naming its high-profile structures.

"If we put a value on them, we can tell them what it will cost them," he said.

"Before now, it's been negotiated one deal at a time."

Not quite enough

School board members balked at the Dr Pepper deal because the company sought to pay $420,000 to extend its exclusive supplier agreement until 2013 and have naming rights to the natatorium until then as well.

"Even if the cola wars have died down, we should be getting more," said trustee Dale Crane.

"The value of naming for 10 years is not reflected in here. I don't want to run Dr Pepper off, and if we're only operating in cola, maybe this is the best we can do.

"But I'd think others would be interested in that location as well. The objective here is value."