Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Selling naming rights to La Canada High

Around Town: Frank Flint would be proud

According to Valley Sun reporter Megan O’Neil (“School district to sell naming rights” Oct. 27), the issue could come before the school board this month. “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,” O’Neil’s story goes on to tell us.

Keck School of Medicine is way more impressive a name than La Cañada High.

But changing the name to “San Marino High School” could stimulate local real estate values. A lot of people want their kids to go to San Marino High School.

Also “Beverly Hills High School.” If Beverly Hills High School sells its naming rights, LCUSD could swoop in and take their name.

Since this is an election year, let’s offer naming rights to the candidates. Other school districts name their schools after dead presidents. Let’s name our schools after prospective presidents.

There will be naysayers who will tell us that high schools need to raise money the old fashioned way — good results, community awareness, enforcement of professional standards for teachers and doughnut sales.

Such short-sighted vision is why we need to change the name of LCHS to “No. 1.”

Sure, we’re not No. 1. Board members say LCHS ranked second in the state. The Mayo Clinic says that “studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being.” In the spirit of “if we build it, they will come,” an optimistic new name will encourage the students to do better and force the voters to approve another parcel tax.

Under some national ranking schemes, LCHS isn’t No. 2. U.S. News & World Reports ranks 79 high schools ahead of LCHS nationally, including several other California schools.

Whitney High School in Cerritos, which is ranked No. 3 in the nation, is unsatisfied with its ranking. Whitney raised $4.6 million in donations, without renaming its school, after announcing “we strive to be the best public college prep school in the world.”

That’s the spirit!

A new name for LCHS will restore parental and voter confidence in a district that has cut classroom days, installed new lockers instead of maintaining the athletic fields, and agreed to a cumbersome and confusing Uniform Teacher Complaint system under a one-sided collective bargaining agreement.

O’Neil reports that under the proposed plan, “individuals who have already given more than $250,000 to La Cañada Unified are automatically eligible to have their name on a facility. 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.”

Let’s support our school board. Social media sites like Facebook, eBay, Craigslist and the Starbucks bulletin board would being in cash. A nice Coca-Cola or Budweiser sign could spice up the football field.

Some donors will want to be anonymous. We could monetize that strange impulse. With technology, Anonymous, the loose-knit, global Internet presence, can anonymously transfer electronic funds in support of our “Anonymous High School.” We could sell the name more than once. The second time to Sony Pictures for “Anonymous,” the movie. And again, to the longtime donors who wish to remain anonymous. No one would know.

Frank Putnam Flint, the developer of Flintridge, would be proud.

Valley Sun

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