Editorial: PUSD Foundation raises interesting idea
The Poway Unified School District Foundation should be commended for its forward-thinking approach to finding new sources of funding to support our local public schools.
Last week foundation representatives briefed the school board on some broad outlines involving the possible use of corporate sponsorships on campus. While nothing was decided during the workshop session, the foundation plans to develop some proposed guidelines over the next few months and return for further discussion with the board.
Their premise is simple: Why not look to the private sector for money that could help offset staggering revenue losses that have come largely from Sacramento’s bungling of the budget? Why not expand fundraising opportunities to (carefully selected) companies interested in having their advertising messages seen by students and their parents?
Would anyone really be upset over advertising in a high school football stadium or gym? What about a sports program having exclusive relationships with the makers of equipment or uniforms? Would it be worth it for the district to place tasteful advertising on lockers or on outside classroom walls? How about in cafeterias and multi-purpose rooms?
Yes, it’s not what schools typically consider doing. But these are not typical times for public education.
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that California’s budget outlook is much bleaker than previously thought. The projected deficit has grown from $9 billion to $15 billion in less than six months, he said. While he and other state leaders are hoping voters will approve a temporary sales tax increase in November, the chance of that happening appears slim.
If nothing changes on the financial horizon, PUSD is projecting budget deficits exceeding $25 million next year and $30 million in 2013-14. At least $7.5 million in spending cuts are being looked at for next year.
True, corporate sponsorships won’t begin to make significant impacts on these funding gaps. But every budget dollar replaced by private money will be freed up for other educational needs.
The foundation’s presentation to the board last week was a good start. We look forward to listening to continued dialogue on the question of new private-public partnerships in our schools.
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