Friday, January 27, 2006

Missed opportunity: GSK-Carrboro High

This NYT story about private naming rights in public schools is disturbing on many levels. As tax dollars wither away, what's not to sell?

"My approach is Leave No Dollar Behind," said Paul Vallas, chief executive of the Philadelphia schools, although he added that a school board review of each transaction would weed out undesirable donors, which he said included tobacco and liquor companies.

It's real clear how you feel when you're in a space where every nook and cubby is named for somebody. You feel like a guest in somebody else's house. This is how the Nasher Museum felt to me. A private museum is a private museum. This is not how a public school is supposed to feel.

Last year the Chapel Hill Town Council declined to endorse the concept of selling advertising space on the outside of our buses. We easily said no to our financial consultant's suggestion that we sell naming rights to our Lot 5 development. There will be other opportunities to think about negotiating the line between private and public, though, and soon.

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