EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — A Wisconsin school district is looking for new ways to raise revenue, such as naming rights or a virtual charter school.
The Eau Claire Area School District disclosed this spring that it's facing a $5.8 million deficit, despite a 2016 referendum that gave the district $87.9 million to fund teacher pay raises and additional staff, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .
Officials have already attempted more traditional methods to solve the funding issue, such as lobbied lawmakers for more aid, asked taxpayers for referendums and made budget cuts, said School Board President Joe Luginbill.
"The strategies that we have employed up until now, they've been crucial, but they've really been about keeping what we have," said he. "So, I really hope that we can have that shift to not only talking about what we need to survive, but talking about what we need to thrive as well."
He said officials are now looking for new ways to raise money. Options include licensing and selling educational materials made in-house, creating virtual charter schools, creating adult education courses or partnering with banks on things like naming rights.
"And one of those also that we talked about was the school district completing a survey of the land that we own and working with the consultant to determine opportunities, assessing that real estate, housing and development potential that we have," said Luginbill.
The district's large size gives it leverage in finding new revenue streams, he said.