Corporate Sponsorship in Our Schools

This is a topic that I suspect is on the minds of many of us in the world of education, as it seems to be an up-and-coming trend.

Here in Jacksonville, there has been discussion and controversy about allowing corporate sponsorship in our schools, cafeterias, and buses.  The thinking, I suppose, is that if it is successful, it could be extended to other areas as well.

Direct revenue from naming rights would aid our schools, but as I’m sure you will agree, many of us are skeptical.

Topher Sanders wrote an article about this topic recently for the Florida Times Union.  He states the following:

“Your kids’ school cafeterias could undergo a name change with a proposed state bill that would allow local school boards to sell the naming rights to school property, including buses.

The bill, which was filed on December 27 of last year, would mandate the revenue from such corporate sponsorships be used to enhance the school district’s school food service budget and to meet the nutritional needs of students.

The proposed Student Nutrition Enhancement Act is similar to a separate bill that would allow advertising on the sides of school buses.  Both bills would help school districts offset state and federal funding losses resulting from budget cuts.

Rep. Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton, Florida, the sponsor of one of those two bills said that there have got to be ways to raise revenue without raising taxes, increasing fees, or cutting education, healthcare, and other services.  He said it’s a great way to encourage public-private partnerships.

Although the superintendent of schools here in Jacksonville is skeptical, district staff favorite exploring the idea.  The superintendent said that on the one hand, it’s revenue.  On the other hand, we have to be careful about not using students for marketing purposes.

He also said that he questioned the potential revenue and that he only thinks it would be marginally successful at best.

Local school boards would set the criteria for the cafeteria naming rights sale, including the type, size, and placement of the company’s name and logo in the cafeteria.

Slosberg said that local school boards would have to find a perfect match for the naming rights for their schools find a perfect match for the naming rights for their schools.  He would like to see someone like Whole Foods, Publix, are fresh fruit producer.

He says that we’re not talking about ads everywhere.  Just a sign or two.”

Coming Tuesday: The Downside to Corporate Sponsorship of Schools