North Providence considers 'naming rights' for school money

North Providence considers 'naming rights' for school money

NORTH PROVIDENCE - In an attempt to acquire more money for the North Providence school district, School Committee members say they're thinking about selling naming rights for athletic fields, classrooms and even the schools themselves.

It's a plan, some suggest, that could be worth millions of dollars.

This idea surfaced about eight months ago when School Committee member Steven Palmieri suggested creating a committee to research ways to receive money through naming rights.

"Steven Andreozzi was running for office at the same time and he came up with the same idea so we put the ideas together that we should be tapping into this market," he said. "We can't keep going to the taxpayer for money."

The idea languished until committee members Palmieri and Andreozzi tried again during the May School Committee meeting.

Palmieri said there are two options available to "get the ball rolling."

First, he said, a company could be hired to assist in the fund-raising process.

Andreozzi said he found a few companies during his research that focus on fundraising "but I don't know what the fees and charges will be."

The other option would be to create a committee to reach out to various businesses and people for naming rights proposals.

Currently, there are four schools in the district named to honor a person - James McGuire Elementary School, Stephen Olney Elementary School, Dr. Joseph A. Whelan Elementary School and Dr. Edward A. Ricci Middle School.

Palmieri said this idea of selling the right to attach a name could potentially bring in millions of dollars toward the schools.

He said the committee would have to brainstorm different pricing structures ranging anywhere from $50 to $1 million.

Depending on the area inside the school, the prices would vary. Available for naming, he said, would be classrooms, the music and science labs, the cafeteria, gymnasium, foyers, athletic fields and auditoriums.

Palmieri said the school department would receive money every year from the donor that would go into a restricted fund earmarked for a specific school.

"I didn't want it to be part of the budget to be used toward salaries," he said. "This is something that would help the schools and the taxpayers and that's the biggest thing, we can't just keep raising the taxes so I'm looking at ways to bring in more revenue."

Palmieri said companies who want to promote themselves and their services could also do the landscaping for the school grounds.

Andreozzi said this concept is not something new and was discussed numerous times over the years.

"The problem is getting the ball rolling. That seems to be the hardest issue that's happening here," he said. "Many corporations love to have their names up there and with the success of our school system and our sports teams it would be great for a lot of local companies and corporations to have their names out there."

North Providence Supt. Melinda Smith said the only thing she would be cautious about is violating the health and wellness policy regarding advertisement. She said the committee would have to ensure that any business interested in requiring naming rights must be an appropriate business for the school district to partner with.

Andreozzi said he researched and found numerous laws and ordinances that were written by other states regarding the issue.

Six years ago, Palmieri introduced another "out of the box" idea for additional school revenue. He said he proposed an after-school day care program for parents and students, which has brought in $80,000 toward the schools and he believes the naming rights will be just as successful.

"I know it's being done across the country in public schools where they are being named for organizations, businesses, people and corporations," he said.

Anybody interested in joining the naming rights committee should call Palmieri at 401-378-4787 or Andreozzi at 401-230-0595.

Comments

Conceptually I could see benefits to revenue slated toward specific goals, technology was mentioned at the school committee meeting, anywhere else would not fly.
There should be a market assessment to see what the real potential could be and how to maximize it, if not large enough, don't proceed. There are a number of companies that put their names around the sports fields for baseball but these are low cost items for mostly professional services. I am not sure the business base is here other than doctors and lawyers to gain a meaningful revenue stream without cluttering the school with signs and bill boards. Sounds like a lot more study is required.
Our sports teams might be doing good currently but having MATH and SCIENCE proficiency ratings of 39% and 27% is not a selling point, it's down right embarrassing, maybe to the point that a company would not want that association.
Yes, more to the point, the School Committee should be focusing on the schools performance.

These people are not serious are they?