North Hills school directors have entered into an agreement with a Michigan-based company to manufacture and distribute products featuring the North Hills name, mascot, logo or mark on items such as T-shirts, hoodies, loungewear, gifts, novelties, sporting goods and specialty items.
The one-year, non-exclusive licensing agreement with LRG Prep LLC of Holland, Mich., which was approved Monday night, will create a new revenue stream for the district.
For years, vendors have profited from sales of red-and-white North Hills merchandise without sharing any revenue with the district, but the district is working to remedy that practice.
"We always wondered how local businesses could sell North Hills apparel with no benefit to the district," said Dan Cardone, director of athletics and activities.
"That question was partially answered when we received monies and a contract from LRG," Mr. Cardone said. "They worked with the National Federation of State High School Associations, who is the governing body of high school sports in this country, to begin to address this issue."
Consumers will be able to purchase district merchandise through LRG online at www.rokkitwear.com and third-party vendors of LRG. Under the agreement, the district retained all ownership rights to its name.
North Hills will receive a minimum of 50 percent revenue from royalties and 65 percent of revenue from online sales. According to terms of the agreement, the district will receive all royalty payments within 60 days after the end of the school year.
David Hall, director of finance and operations, said it is unclear how much revenue will be generated. It will be placed into a general fund with no specific allocations.
The contract, which went into effect Monday, will automatically extend at the end of each year for one year, unless either the district or LRG give at least 180 days notice to terminate the agreement.
The LRG Prep agreement became feasible upon the district implementing a new commercial activities policy, which also was unanimously approved Monday by school directors. It permits the district to engage in future advertisement solicitation, partnership and sponsorship opportunities with private providers or businesses.
"The new commercial activities policy allows our administration to partner with interested parties and businesses in the North Hills community that are looking to make a difference in our schools through partnerships, advertising and sponsorships," said superintendent Pat Mannarino.
Examples of potential partnerships include sponsorship of student events, award ceremonies, athletic events, advertising on the district website and in printed publications, as well as weekly email newsletters.
"As a district, we determined that we wanted to pursue sponsorships, partnerships and other revenue-generating initiatives. If we were going to proceed, we needed to have clear guidelines and policies in place. The drafting and passage of this policy was the first step in our process to securing alternative revenue sources," said Mr. Mannarino.
He said these alternative revenue streams are critical in looking beyond "traditional mechanisms" in an effort to avoid burdening district taxpayers.
The superintendent emphasized there was not a need to seek revenue-generating initiatives specific to North Hills, "but as all districts in Pennsylvania face economic challenges, we are engaging and pursuing new opportunities to partner with our community members."
The district retains under the policy the exclusive authority to "pursue, accept, or decline an opportunity to engage in appropriate commercial activities" by assessing whether the commercial activity will provide a substantial benefit to the district, its schools and students, and whether it properly reflects the district's mission, policies and goals, according to the purpose of the policy listed on the district's website.
The LRG Prep licensing agreement is the only such commercial partnership the district has entered at this time.
Chris Checchio, freelance writer: email@example.com.