It’s bad enough that there is already wide discrepancy in per-student spending across the Commonwealth (from $9K to 29K in 2009-2010*), but naming rights will just add to the existing unfairness that arises from principally funding education through property tax revenue. The only reason that Newton has any shot at naming rights for its school buildings is that it is a relatively wealthy city and attractive to businesses that might want the exposure. The potential for naming right revenue is significantly lower in less-wealthy municipalities. The rich get richer.

What if the effort expended on trying to find naming-rights revenue were expended on trying to increase revenue for education state-wide? What if, instead of hitting up corporations and other deep pockets for site-specific contributions, we worked for a more progressive tax system and took a little (or a lot) more from corporations and wealthier individuals in tax revenue?

*I know that per-student spending is only one factor and that there are lots of complicating issues, like the demand for special education from district-to-district, but we are talking about how to increase funding to schools.

Update: Let me pose a related question. Let’s assume the location, newness, and grandeur of Newton North makes it a better target for naming rights than South and The North Face corporation agrees to pay $2 million to rename it Newton The North Face (R) High School. Should the money be spent exclusively at North?