PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Public schools here in California have faced years of spending cuts. Smaller budgets have forced layoffs, and cuts to programs. In an effort to combat continued state budget cuts, Palm Springs Unified School District is seeking out a creative, new way to raise funds. The board of education is considering selling naming rights to donors.
The District's Board of Education will discuss on Tuesday whether to hire Terry Green, a large-scale fundraising program expert, who recently retired from the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership. The board would spend $45,000 to bring him in.
Board President Richard Clapp says it is time for the district to be autonomous of the state, "We cannot rely anymore on the state of California," said Clapp.
Clapp believes the creative idea is not strange that they are considering the initiative. "If we were a university or a hospital, naming buildings and programs would be a very normal thing to go about doing to raise money," said Clapp.
He believes there's a long list of nameable buildings and programs at their schools, starting with their newest addition: Rancho Mirage High School. "The Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High school, the auditorium at Palm Springs High School, we have football fields, we have gymnasiums, we have programs, we have academies at all of our high schools," said Clapp.
If Palm Springs Unified approves the program, it will follow the lead of private schools like Marywood-Palm Valley in Rancho Mirage. It's had great success from selling naming rights to buildings.
"I think it's a wise move because if they can establish a foundation, get a 501 C3 designation as a non-profit, for that foundation, they can raise a lot of funds, and hopefully supplement some of their educational programs, as well as new buildings," said head of school Robert Graves.
The board is still about six months away from taking major action, but if they do, they have a foundation in place. "Most of them need a foundation to give it to," said Clapp. "As opposed to directly to the school district, so our Pinnacle fund is an essential part of this whole operation."