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PHM School Corporation selling naming rights

The St. Joseph County school district is getting creative in the way it raises money.

Penn-Harris Madison School Corporation (PHM) says state budget cuts have left it without much wiggle room. So the district is selling its naming rights to make up for some of the losses.

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and Executive Director of the Education Foundation Marilynn Wise have been working hard to find innovative ways to keep money coming into PHM.

The latest idea on the table—selling naming rights.

This means business owners and community members can donate a sum of money and then have sports facilities, a building or a classroom named after them.

"A donor may want to name it after the business, sometimes they may want to name it after a family," said Wise.

The plan is to raise $4 million in the next five years.

Dr. Thacker says he is fully on-board with this idea because the school corporation needs the money.

“We're trying to recover from the great recession and in 2009 the governor made an executive order which cut budgets by three percent in the general fund,” said Thacker.

That was a $2. 7 million budget cut for PHM.

“We've done a lot of things to make sure we did not have to lay off teachers and we did not have to eliminate programs but as we look forward we realize that we are funded below the state average. We are the lowest funded large school district in this area. We have to do extra things to ensure high quality excellence for our students,” said Thacker.

Already, a family has purchased naming rights to the Penn High School tennis courts and the softball field. Wise says paperwork was just finished up on the Penn High soccer field as well.
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