School's Naming Rights Sold, At What Cost?


Date: 
December 24, 2010
Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District may soon be attending football games and band concerts in buildings with the name of corporate sponsors plastered on them. The school board has agreed to sell the naming rights to its buildings in hopes of raising much-needed revenue, but the plan has its detractors.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

In Los Angeles, the school district's cafeterias and sports fields will soon be brought to you by some of the world's biggest companies. The district is turning to corporate sponsors to help fill major budget holes, which makes parents and some school officials uncomfortable.

Nate Berg reports.

(Soundbite of crowd chatter)

NATE BERG: School has just started this morning at Logan Elementary in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood, and Gloria Rodriguez is beginning her rounds. She's been a volunteer on campus for years, even after her own kids finished school here. She thinks the sponsorships could be a good thing.

Ms. GLORIA RODRIGUEZ (Volunteer, Logan Elementary): You know, if they can help the children, if they can do something for the children, then it will be wonderful. But, you know, I don't know.

BERG: What she doesn't know is whether the cost of putting corporate names on campus buildings will be worth the money it brings in to the struggling district. Some parents are absolutely opposed. Roland Johnson, Jr. was at Logan later in the day to pick up his fourth-grade daughter. He worries about the implications of the program.

Mr. ROLAND JOHNSON, JR.: Nothing is free. OK? The more they give you, the more say-so they're going to have. OK? They're not going to do it unless they're here to make money. They're not doing it out the kindness of their heart.