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updated: 8/8/2011 4:29 PM

Mundelein High board eyeing corporate sponsorships

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Mundelein High School could join the ranks of local campuses using corporate sponsorship to offset costs.

The Mundelein High School District 120 board will meet tonight to discuss whether to develop a corporate-sponsorship policy, among other business.

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The direction was inspired by comments local residents made this spring. During a public discussion about an eventually successful fundraising referendum, some people encouraged school leaders to seek corporate sponsors for facilities and programs.

Advocates said money generated by naming rights or other advertisements could help pay for repairs, renovations or improvements at the school. School officials said they hadn't pursued sponsorships in the past but would look into the matter after the election.

And that's what they've been doing for the past few months.

"Corporate sponsorship provides resources ... that don't have to come from the taxpayer," District 120 business manager Gary Lonquist said. "If companies feel it could be a benefit to them and it could be a benefit to students, and certainly a benefit to taxpayers, then I think it's a dead-bang cinch."

Among the most high-profile corporate sponsorships is Rust-Oleum Field at Vernon Hills High School. It's named after a local business that gave the school $100,000 in 2002 to help pay for the field's construction.

Warren Township High School in Gurnee has had corporate advertising at its athletic fields for several years.

"We would hope to be part of those successful stories," Mundelein High Superintendent Jody Ware said.

If the school board opts to invite sponsorships, officials will get sample policies from other districts and craft rules for Mundelein High.

The policy could bring in sponsors for nonathletic programs. Musical performances, theater productions and the school's robotics program are among those that could benefit from corporate donations, a district memo said.

Corporate sponsorships would not be used to raise money for academic programs or scholarships, the memo said.

However, Ware said she could envision a science lab being remodeled after a donation from a Lake County pharmaceutical company.

If the board pursues sponsorships, Ware said, she would like to have a policy in place by December.

No companies have yet approached the board about sponsorships, Ware said.

Today's meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the school, 1350 W. Hawley St.

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