School districts in New York have the potential to bring in some extra income through sponsorships and advertising on school property, but the state Legislature needs to clarify the rules to allow it to happen more easily.

A report released Tuesday by the Empire Center for Public Policy points out that school districts and municipalities have shied away from pursuing advertising income because interpretations of the state constitution by the Attorney General’s Office, the Education Department and the Board of Regents have historically agreed that such deals are prohibited.

But the legality is so murky, Empire Center said, that sponsorship agreements “are largely absent in New York not because they’ve been banned, but because they haven’t been explicitly authorized.

We would like to see school districts have the option of exploring new revenue streams because it might help protect extracurricular activities like sports and music that are sometimes the first programs to face cuts during difficult budget times. On the other hand, the state needs to be careful not to open the floodgates and inadvertently pave the way for alcohol and tobacco ads in schools.

To that end, the Legislature can — and should — pass legislation specifically allowing things like naming rights for athletic facilities and advertising select products and services on school buses. At that point, it would be up to individual school districts to accept or reject proposals as they see fit.

The Empire Center suggests that school boards would want to come up with a list of ground rules to specify particular properties that could display ads; define the types of businesses that would be allowed to participate; develop a pricing structure; establish a process for considering proposals; and set conditions for contract expiration.

We understand that rural school districts aren’t going to sign million-dollar deals for the naming rights of their football stadiums. But sponsorships worth tens of thousands of dollars can be very helpful to districts trying to stretch every dollar on behalf of their students.

© 2019 Auburn Citizen

You may also like

Here’s Cuomo’s Plan for Reopening New York

Jesse McKinley ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday presented a soft blueprint for how New York State’s economy might begi Read More

States with few virus cases get big share of relief aid

Geoff Mulvihill Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming are not epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet these four states scored big this spri Read More

What to expect in the state’s first round of spending cuts

Rebecca Lewis Regular viewers of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus press briefings have heard the governor say time and again that New York state is broke. Revenue projections are way down and the state is facing a budget deficit that is Read More

Eyeing Medicaid Cuts, Cuomo Puts His Stamp On A $3 Trillion Stimulus Bill

Caroline Lewis During state budget discussions in March, Governor Andrew Cuomo  that the pandemic would not stop him from pushing through changes to Medicaid that he said were necessary to contain the growth of its more than $70 billion annu Read More

Hospitals, nursing homes face another Medicaid cut during pandemic

Michael Gormley ALBANY — The state told hospitals and nursing homes this week that they will be hit with another cut in Medicaid funding as the health care system reels from costs related to fighting the COVID-19 virus and state revenue plum Read More

Port Authority’s Bloated Payroll Grew $150 Million Last Year: Report

Eve Kessler he Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s payroll ballooned by $150 million last year — a bad look when the agency is asking the federal government , including the . According to the Empire Center, a conservative-lean Read More

Regional leaders play limited role in Western New York’s reopening

Caitlin Dewey Western New York’s regional “control room” meets by phone for as long as an hour each day, opening with a briefing from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul before officials trade local updates, case numbers and complaints. The group, Read More

Cuomo criticized for not exempting out-of-state health care workers from income tax

Joe Chen New York policy leaders say that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to not exempt out-of-state health care workers from the state’s income tax makes the state appear ungrateful for their help. “Cuomo told those he was asking to com Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.