Legislators want to experiment with selling “sponsorships” of Iowa school buildings. Just as Coca-Cola was a big corporate sponsor of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Senator Mary Kramer of West Des Moines envisions corporations buying or building schools in Iowa. She says it could be a big boost to economic development efforts in communities.The Iowa Senate this morning passed a bill that would set up six “pilot projects” in which corporations, or rich individuals, could pay for a school building. Kramer says the projects will let them know if such an arrangement will work.Senator Mike Connolly, a school administrator in Dubuque, voted against the bill. He says it’s symbolic of our times that now even our school buildings are for sale.Senator Johnie Hammond of Ames says her local district rented space in churches when they had growing enrollment. She says they takes away any implied obligation of having a corporate sponsorship of a building.Hammond jokes that Iowa might wind up with a “Budweiser Center for the Performing Arts” in some school district. The bill must clear the Iowa House, too, and get Governor Vilsack’s signature before it becomes law.
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