From their newly made over dais (dark wooden paneling replaced the older light-colored seating area for board members, while a new ADA-compliant viewing area for individuals with handicaps was also added over the summer), they ultimately decided to postpone taking action on new financial contribution and sponsorship policy until Dec. 1.
Photo by Tim Peterson.
Fairfax County Public Schools are far from becoming a David Foster Wallace novel.
As the school board discussed new policy proposed for recognizing commercial, promotional and corporate sponsorships at its first business meeting of the 2016-2017 school year on Sept. 8, Providence District representative Dalia Palchik referenced one of the late author’s lengthy and more popular works “Infinite Jest.”
In the dystopian future world of Wallace’s imagination, corporations may bid for naming rights of entire calendar years. FCPS will stop well short of that, but the board still wants to tread carefully.
From their newly made over dais (dark wooden paneling replaced the older light-colored seating area for board members, while a new ADA-compliant viewing area for individuals with handicaps was also added over the summer), they ultimately decided to postpone taking any action until Dec. 1 of this year.
All members but Ryan McElveen (At-large) voted in favor of pushing back a decision until more questions could be asked of directors of Student Activities at district high schools and the draft policy could be reviewed in greater detail.
Among its provisions, the draft policy states:
“Monetary donations that are $10,000 or less will be retained in their entirety by the recipient school. Monetary donations that exceed $10,000 will be allocated as follows: 35 percent of the donated amount will be retained and used by the school, and 65 percent will be retained and used by the School Division. Donations of goods or services will be allocated at the discretion of the Superintendent or designee, and the allocation formula of this paragraph will not apply to in-kind donations.”
Springfield District representative Elizabeth Schultz warned of policy like that being tantamount to “wealth distribution.” Whereas, a goal discussed for the policy is more about “incentivizing” businesses and individuals to play a more significant role in schools’ financial viability.
Jane Strauss, board vice chairman and Dranesville District representative, motioned for the postponement, saying that she would like to hear perspectives from the student activities directors in particular.
In the draft, the policy says naming rights may be available from contributions and sponsorships for school stadiums and fields, gymnasiums, libraries, gardens, locker rooms and other “school installations.”
At-large member Jeanette Hough added to Strauss’ motion the board should reach out to the business community to learn more about factors that motivate them to make contributions, before passing any new policy.
A draft of the policy the board reviewed before deciding to postpone action is available online here.