Here is an example of a school district in California that is turning to a creative solution to traditional fundraising.
9:09 PM PDT, April 20, 2011
The Lodi Unified School District, like every district in the state, is facing big cuts because of the economy.
Last year, LUSD had to cut about $30 million. This year, the district is looking to cut $15 million according to Art Hand, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Planning.
“Looking to generate revenue in anyway, shape, and form that we can,” said Hand.
The district is now thinking of turning to private companies to advertise in schools. Hand said they would take advertising from local businesses and companies that are more nationally oriented. While the advertisements would be put on billboards, folders, and school websites Hand said they’re not stopping there, “Contemplating naming rights like for our gymnasium example.”
There are already a number of local businesses in Lodi that donate to schools, like House of Coffees. Owner Jennifer Phillips-Lorentzen said while she probably won’t donate enough to get the gym named after the shop she thinks the advertising is a good move. “They’re a huge part of my business,” she said about the students. “I depend on them greatly. When I can give back it’s a win-win for both of us.”
Concerns have been raised about whether or not the advertisements would be seen as endorsements or a conflict of interest, but parents like Leanne Hummel didn’t seem to mind. “If (businesses are) willing to help our kids when the state of California can’t; anything is welcome,” she said.
Fellow Lodi parent Danyelle Horch agreed, “We need our teachers. We need our advisors. We need our administrators.”
Hand estimates the advertisements would bring in a maximum of $200,000 a year.
While that may seem small compared to the $15 million in cuts, Hand pointed out the advertising effort would be combined with other money-making ideas like cell phone tower rights, and the district’s solar project. “We see the little pieces of the puzzle coming together and have a big benefit for the district,” said Hand.
A final advertising policy will be presented to the LUSD Board of Education on May 3 for approval.