Corporate Sponsorship of Public Schools?

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education just approved a measure to seek corporate sponsors of athletic stadiums and gear for students like drums for the band, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Critics are uncomfortable with the move because they say it is the public and not private companies that should fund schools. From the L.A. Times:

Under the approved rules, the district superintendent could ink agreements up to $500,000, with school-board approval required for larger amounts. Sponsors would not be able to sell or market specific products to children; instead, they would have “branding“ opportunities.

Examples could include signs on scoreboards or naming rights to auditoriums or athletic fields or a brand name on a drum purchased with a corporate donation.

“Let me tell you, this is all advertising,” L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said, adding, “we’re not going to put advertising where it offends.”

….One estimate put potential annual revenue at $18 million, but Cortines cautioned that such expectations might be overly optimistic. The district already was able to preserve some sports programs with a fundraising effort that netted about $1.5 million.

“We’re asking for help from our corporate community,” said board President Monica Garcia. “We’re trying to get help.”

It’s a shame the corporate community has hemmed and hawed about taxes that would actually benefit the public schools. What do you all think about these corporate sponsorships?


14 thoughts on “Corporate Sponsorship of Public Schools?

  1. I can’t get too worked up about it

    These kids are pummeled with advertising. I just hope the principals, school board, and superintendent use good judgement.

  2. I think it’s remarkable though

    that they won’t bother the school board with amounts less than $500k. That is 1/7 of the whole budget for our school district.

    • And we have much closer

      oversight than that… decisions like whether to raise the rent on our rental houses by $50 a month come by our school board.

  3. I find it very coarse

    Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a democracy, where we got a real say in how our tax dollars were used and education was considered an essential civic good?

    On the other hand, maybe being transparent about what we truly value — corporate wealth — isn’t a bad thing for young minds.

    • I had the same reaction

      goshdarn it, pay your goshdarn corporate taxes at a rate that can support an educated civil society. Education is not an advertising opportunity. Goshdarn it.

      • dumb customers,

        dumb workers? Is that the endgame here?

        Although I have to say I would love to walk onto a high school campus and visit their Tampax Cafeteria.

        • I’m thinking some of

          the likelier possibilities are the Hooters Cheerleading Squad and the Buysteroids.Net Football Team.

        • That would be

          hilarious. Or, how about selling naming rights to the bathrooms?

          Unfortunately, I don’t think the day is too far off when schools will be offering naming rights for classrooms.

          • Well,

            when I taught at a boarding school that shall remain nameless, my classroom was named for the individual who paid for it- as were 90% of the other rooms on the campus.  You didn’t have Spanish in “Room 551” you had it in “the Walker room” or whatever.  There were even a couple of rooms named for corporations.  Seems like if the really rich can do it for their kids…

            I don’t know.  I just hope the school isn’t stupid about it- though I imagine they will be.

  4. Maybe a different approach …

    I hate advertising to kids, but if schools are going to go down that road, then I think we should use the money to give them better classrooms, supplies, schools, etc., rather than sports-related items.  If we’re going to let our kids see ads in our schools, at least it could be related to actual learning.

    Joanne Bamberger
    aka PunditMom

    • Sports

      Often the booster clubs purchase items ranging from uniforms and equipment to very expensive items such as athletic fields and stadiums/scoreboards.  They use the advertising or ‘sponsorships’ (on items they own and control) to raise money as private, parent run boosters.  

      For example, perhaps a parent found a corporate sponsor to fund some band activities/trips and stenciling on the equipment what they had to sell/offer the sponsor in return.  In athletics, the sponsors on the scoreboard are usually paying for the actual scoreboard, field or uniforms.

      I doubt the school gets the money and then selects athletic programs over academics.  I suspect this short article is missing some vital information.

      • which kind of brings us

        back around to the corporate deals.  In our district about a decade ago, a deal was made with Pepsi.  They gave several hundred thousand dollars to the district each year in exchange for being the sole provider of drinks in all vending machines as well as at all sporting events.  The booster clubs were very upset about this as for years, they had raised money through doing the concessions at all the games…including drinks.   So, therefore, when Pepsi came in and did all the drinks, they were not able to do other drinks and make money for their organizations this way.  It really cut into what they were able to raise, and of course, not all the money from Pepsi went back to schools in a manner that provided for the expenses that the booster clubs took care of with their money.

        • I remember something similar

          I don’t know if Coke does that anymore? One of the schools my kids attended had a policy that nobody could sell any food items, baked goods, drinks, snacks, etc… anywhere because their cafeteria contractor wouldn’t allow it.  The contract called for zero “competition” including selling candy bars or oranges to get the band to their next concert.

          It’s not always the sponsorships, but most corporate involvement, that bothers me.

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