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S. Huntington Targets Businesses for Funding

School district hopes partnerships will provide funds for programs.

The South Huntington school district is pursuing corporate sponsorships and other business relationships in an attempt to secure more funding for programs.

Dr. David Bennardo, district superintendent, announced the initiative at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, saying the state tax cap had forced administrators to rethink budgets and revenue.

Calling the initiative the Third Option, Bennardo said that two other choices, raising taxes or cutting programs or people, were simply no longer viable.

“There just aren’t enough paper clips in the world” to cut from a budget, Bennardo said.  “We’ve been challenged to think a little differently.”

“Is it going to close a $1 million gap?--and I’m not saying we have a $1 million gap. No. But it’s a start to new relationships and a creative way of thinking, “Bennardo said.

The plan includes:

  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Local business relationships
  • Dedications
  • Partnering with boosters and foundations
  • Naming rights, which could include fields, concert halls, gyms, science labs,  computer rooms, auditoriums, computer rooms and equipment
  • Sponsorships, such as newsletters, website, concerts, plays, programs, calendar, musicals, athletic events, seasonal events, agendas and menus

 Using a fictional “Joe’s Pizza” as an example, Bennardo said the district could accept funds and place “modest signage” thanking the restaurant for its financial support, but couldn’t post an “Eat at Joe’s” sign. “The rules say we can take sponsorships and develop relationships but we can’t use our structure” to promote a specific business, he said.

“It’s an important step in the right direction,”  said Nicholas R. Ciappetta, the board’s vice president.

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The tax cap limits the annual growth of property taxes imposed by local governments and school districts to 2 percent or the rate of inflation. While districts can present a budget that exceeds the limit, passage hinges on winning the approval of 60 percent of voters.

The Wildcat Booster Club already sponsors the weekly newsletter.

d November 29, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Interesting as I know this was brought up at a BOE meeting in the past by a student. At that time the now, former student, was told that this was not allowed and not up for discussion. Do I see good changes coming with Dr Bennardo? I do hope so.
kath November 29, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Private schools do it all the time! Bravo to Dr Bennardo ! This district needs a breath of fresh air!
Jim R. November 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@Ron - Care to elaborate?
Concerned Citizen November 29, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I hate to through a wet blanket on this “new idea”, but the Superintendent should manage the expectations and curb your enthusiasm. This has been done many times before and the reason you do not hear about it very often is because the initiative fails miserably. You would hope that it that it works, but it simply does not. Why? Because the NYS Constitution prohibits commercial sponsorship on school grounds or school related media. The law does allow for non-commercial sponsorship of school events (with very modest signage as the Superintendent suggests) however, this becomes so insignificant to the corporate sponsor or local business, that it does not provide a value proposition – virtually no marketing value at all. You would do just as well having the PTA or booster organization simply ask for a donation from the business entity. (by the way, school officials cannot ask for the donation; hence why I mention the PTA, Etc.) I hate to be negative on this because sponsorship should be able to provide schools with needed revenue that can lower the local tax levy. Pennsylvania brings a fortune of revenue to their public schools with corporate sponsorship. So please write the Governor to change the NYS laws and constitution.
Patrick Aievoli November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Do you mean that you agree with what I am saying?

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