Fairfax Schools Consider `Corporate Sponsorship'
Bhatti, Jabeen, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Jabeen Bhatti
A panel of Fairfax County school officials, parents and students today will recommend the cash-strapped School Board explore raising funds through "corporate sponsorship," including selling naming rights to school gymnasiums, science labs and football fields.
The ad hoc committee also will present proposals on ways for the school system to increase Web advertising and how to create guidelines to minimize the effects of constant advertising on students.
Professional sport teams have reaped millions in revenue from selling the naming rights to their stadiums, such as PSINet Stadium in Baltimore and FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
However, the panel's recommendations have not met resounding approval among the School Board.
"I have a problem with the suggestion that the schools are for sale to the highest bidder," said board member Stuart Gibson of the Hunters Mill District. "This is not suggestive of a society that takes responsibility for funding its schools."
At-large board member Mychele Brickner said she worried that students were already exposed to too much advertising.
"We need to be careful how we target students and with what messages," she said. "But the idea of limiting exposure to advertising and increasing advertising is mutually exclusive."
The committee, which has been studying ways to further combine commerce and the classroom, also is recommending the establishment of an independent third party to explore how much revenue could be generated by such activities. "The revenue picture is so bleak, but the needs are so great," said Deputy Superintendent Alan Leis, the committee's chairman. "We felt the issue needed to be revisited."
Mr. Leis said the committee is opposed to directly advertising in classrooms. …