Education

Selling naming rights could help generate Wake schools funds

Posted April 15, 2010 6:26 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2010 7:05 p.m. EDT

School Funding (Generic)

— At least one Wake County school board member thinks the school system should look at selling the naming rights at high school stadiums to help with school funding.

The public school system is looking at $40 million less in funding for the upcoming school year, because of low revenue and state-mandated budget cuts.

Finding companies willing to pay for exposure at high school sporting events is one option officials should consider, board member Keith Sutton said Thursday.

The school board did discuss the idea in 2003 but never decided on the matter.

School system spokesman Michael Evans said Thursday that given the current financial situation of the school system, every idea is worth considering.

"But we need to do the due diligence to have the information for the (board members) so they can make an informed decision, and that's what we're doing right now," Evans said.

Sutton said he believes stadium sponsorships could be a win-win for every party involved as many companies are scaling back advertising revenue.

"We can offer, perhaps, a better bang for their buck and give them more exposure for smaller dollars," he said.

Impacts on the school system are expected to be severe.

Board members on Wednesday reviewed proposals showing the impact on the system.

School-based cuts would include a reduction of extra-duty pay and an increase in the students-to-teacher ratio. In addition, money allotted to the system per student would be used to fill in budget gaps.

There is already a hiring freeze in place that affects all central services and most school-based positions, as well as new hires and re-hires.

The school board and district administrators are also considering laying off about 70 staff in central services and eliminating 30 to 35 vacant positions that would affect instructional services, communications, chief of staff, auxiliary services and administrative services.