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
- 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.
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