BayBuzz has learned that bidding for the corporate sponsorship rights for Havelock North Intermediate School has skyrocketed in recent days.

Says principal John Schollum, “To be honest, I never expected to see this kind of outpouring of support. The bidding has gotten to a level where we might consider adding an indoor swimming pool and all-weather sports stadium.”

Schollum got the idea for selling his school when Telecom announced that it would be cancelling its program that subsidizes school technology investments throughout the nation. The program has supported about $60,000 per year in technology investment at HNI.

Speaking off the record, another HNI official noted, “We realized that as this bad news sank in around the country, heaps of schools would start chasing outside funding. The government is just too cheap to pay for programs that would provide our children with the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century. We wanted to be first into the marketplace. The early bird gets the worm.”

The fierce bidding has not been without problems.

Tui, having been a sponsor of Nimon school buses, sees this as a “line extension” opportunity. “We would love to have a school named Tui Intermediate,” said Tui spokesman John Smith, “but that Schollum fellow is balking at our demand that the Tui logo needs to be indelibly stamped on the forehead of each student.” Several local wineries are rumoured to be preparing offers.

Lingerie shop Sheer Elegance has also entered a bid. But school officlals are demurring while they seek a legal opinion as to whether that company is in the “sex industry,” a category that Schollum has ruled out of consideration.

One bidder that Schollum has definitely rejected is Cape Kidnapper’s Golf Course, declining the whopping $1 billion dollar sponsorship offer from American owner Julian Robertson. Says one school official, “It’s a matter of principle. We will not stand for allowing Americans to pay for the essential needs of New Zealand schoolchildren. We would rather have our children remain in the Stone Age than see them beholden to foreigners. After all, ignorance is bliss.”

Meanwhile, Cadbury is said to be licking its lips at the prospect of making chocolate selling a year-long activity required for graduation credit. However, McDonald’s has said it will resist efforts by Cadbury to capture even more of the obesity market. Says a McDonald’s spokesperson, “Fat has just as much right to the schools as sugar.”

A government spokesperson, speaking confidentially, commented, “Of course taxpayers and parents should NOT have to pay for the education of our nation’s children. That’s ridiculous. Clearly it is the sacred responsibility of Telecom. This is just a clever ploy on Telecom’s part to embarrass the government for forcing competition upon them. Moreover, there are millions of children around the world who have no access to education at all. It would be unfair and unseemly for Kiwi children to have luxuries like high speed internet access.”

Schollum, according to HBT, admits the move could raise eyebrows among parents, but said it was better than asking them for $100 extra per child.

BayBuzz wonders if you agree. If you were a parent (or even an innocent bystander or local elected official), would you rather:
a) pay an extra $100 yourself for the essentials of a 21st century education for your children; 
b) have some corporation do it;
c) demand that the government pay for it;  or,
d) let the kids make do without technology (after all, we just had pencils and paper … and look how good we turned out).

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