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School district to sell naming rights

Board is drafting policy to allow LCUSD facilities, programs to be named for big-time contributors.

October 26, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

UCLA has its Pauley Pavilion, and USC boasts the Keck School of Medicine. Now, La Cañada Unified buildings and athletic venues may also bear the names of their most generous patrons as school officials get creative with fundraising.

The district released last week a list of dozens of school facilities and programs, the names of which could be sold to donors as part of a new revenue-generating effort.

If approved — the school board could vote as early as next month — it would place La Cañada Unified among a small but growing contingent of public school districts hawking naming rights in order to suture bleeding budgets. Beverly Hills and Palos Verdes school districts already have naming policies in place, and San Marino may consider something similar in the coming year.

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Glendale and Burbank school districts do not have formal policies on naming rights, their spokespeople said.

Some of the priciest options include the La Cañada High School football stadium and library for $1 million, elementary school playgrounds for $750,000, and cafeterias for $500,000. Naming rights for individual classrooms are listed for $100,000 a piece. Auditorium chairs and computer stations would be available for $2,500 each.

The donations would not fund capital projects, but instead go into the general fund to offset the district’s operating costs, said school board Vice President Scott Tracy. La Cañada Unified will retain the right to scrutinize and reject any gifts and naming requests deemed to be at odds with its mission.

Under existing board policy, district officials can name a school facility after an individual in recognition of a significant contribution, financial or otherwise. But it does not outline specific dollar amounts to trigger that naming process.

The recently released dollar thresholds were set after studying naming opportunities at Flintridge Preparatory School and Loyola High School, among others, Tracy said.

Individuals who have already given more than $250,000 to La Cañada Unified are automatically eligible to have their name on a facility, Tracy said. Those who have given between $100,000 and $250,000 are asked to contribute at least $25,000 more in exchange for naming rights, while those who want to see their names on an auditorium chair or computer lab station are expected to make new contributions in the full amount, he added.

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