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Quaker Valley adopts new policy to expand corporate sponsorships, donations

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As state and federal funds dry up, some school districts are looking at naming rights, sponsorships and donations as new ways of keeping programs running.

Quaker Valley School District became one of the latest districts to adopt a commercial activities policy in an effort to expand on sponsored opportunities.

And while there are no plans for, say, Target Field at Chuck Knox Stadium or Starbucks Theatre at Quaker Valley Middle School, the new policy approved earlier this month will allow for corporate and individual sponsorships to be considered more frequently, Superintendent Joseph Clapper said.

“It's really about alternative funding sources, and an opportunity for groups or businesses to contribute to the operations of the district — in particular co-curricular activities they could support,” Clapper said.

“I'm hoping agencies, groups (and) corporations will be willing to reach out, but I must admit we will be seeking this out as well.”

Schools could be more open to these deals as traditional funding sources slow, district spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said.

“Clearly, it's a challenging time for public education, so we do need to be a bit more creative,” she said. “School districts, in general, are going to see more support coming from private sources.”

Seneca Valley School District became one of the first area districts in 2006 to approve a corporate sponsorship with the naming rights of the school's football field — NexTier Stadium.

Since then, the Butler County district has expanded advertising opportunities to include the district's electronic newsletter, printed calendar and website.

In 2011, Ambridge Area approved a 10-year agreement to rename its football field the Ambridge Shop ‘n Save Field at Moe Rubenstein Stadium.

That agreement helped salvage some of the district's sports teams.

In Quaker Valley, sponsorships of $2,500 or more would require board approval, Clapper said.

Private gifts already occur at Quaker Valley as individuals and others regularly offer various donations, Clapper said.

He cited the $60,000 wellness center at Quaker Valley Middle School as an example of donations.

“All of that equipment was totally funded from the outside — no taxpayer money,” Clapper said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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