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Residents Unhappy with Brighton School Board's Revision of Naming Rights Policy

Residents addressed School Board members during Monday meeting.

With construction set to begin on the new Brighton High School football stadium in a few months, there is much talk over the fact that the field could no longer bear the name, 'The Dog Pound.'

Brighton School Board members voted to revise the district's naming rights policy earlier this month, allowing them to consider commemorative naming for the purpose of generating revenue. 

Unhappy residents addressed Board members during Monday night's meeting, urging them to rethink the policy revision.

Many residents were outraged when Board Secretary Nick Fiani said he would take $10 million from Budweiser to name the stadium because it would balance the budget. 

Fiani later clarified his comments on Brighton Patch's Facebook page for Patch readers. 

"To clarify, the quote was taken out of context," he wrote. "It is illegal for a school district to provide advertising for such a company that produces and distributes alcohol, so it would not even be an issue. I was supporting Mr. Trombley's remark regarding accepting a deal, such as Taco Bell Stadium, so the district could avoid continued pay cuts and layoffs of teachers.

"That is correct that I said the district needs the money, and $10 million would balance the budget, but I was referring to an agreement with large corporations in general, not specifically Budweiser," Fiani continued in another comment. "As mentioned in the article, Dr. Gray referenced Budweiser."

Craig Oberry, a parent with two kids in the Brighton Area Schools district, talked of naming rights Monday night after touching on his concerns of privatizing maintenance and secretarial positions as part of possible upcoming budget cuts .

"The last meeting I was here at, there was talk of naming rights and things like that," he said. "And I understand all that, but I have a big problem when I hear somebody say that for $10 million I'd put Budweiser up there or I'd put whatever up there. To sell out the character of this school, of this community, I think is the wrong thing to do."

Andy Burchfield, another district parent, said he had significant concerns related to naming rights, and asked Board members to re-evaluate their decision and take it back to the drawing board. 

"I think that you'd find that the vast majority of this community is willing and would be supportive of taking in a financial revenue stream related to naming an athletic facility or something thereof," Burchfield said. "However when it's done under the guise of fast-tracking this through approval and not going to community support, I think that is very alarming and raises a lot of questions -including potential conflicts of interest. I would also like to express significant concerns with comments made related to using alcoholic beverages as well as tobacco products in a K12 environment. Higher education doesn't even utilize those. And I think it is something that is extremely concerning and quite frankly shows a great lack of maturity."

Michael Harris wrote on the Patch Facebook page, "Schools are meant to be counter-cultural or at least neutral. The slippery corporate slope is well under way and can only undermine the critical aspect that education is meant to be."

What do you think of naming district facilities to generate revenue? Tell us in the comments. 

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