The state inspector general’s recent recommendation that Newton seek bids for a school naming-rights campaign appears to have stalled the fund-raising effort.
City officials said there are no immediate plans to request bids from organizations interested in running a naming-rights campaign. And as both the Board of Aldermen and School Committee calendars slow down for the summer, the issue is unlikely to be taken up for weeks.
“We’re in the early stages of how a naming campaign would work,” said Mayor Setti Warren, who has supported the concept. “There’s no plan to put anything out to bid.”
Even the School Committee, which has backed the naming-rights campaign and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Newton Schools Foundation to manage the effort, is taking a slower approach.
“The naming rights initiative has a lot of complexity that we are sorting out,” School Committee chairwoman Claire Sokoloff wrote in an e-mail. “We haven’t made any decisions yet about next steps.”
The Newton Schools Foundation has proposed selling the naming rights to school spaces, such as athletic fields, science labs, and classrooms, to raise as much as $6 million in three years for technology infrastructure and teacher training.
Supporters of the idea say it would help outfit Newton’s schools with needed but expensive equipment.
But some aldermen and residents have balked at the idea of putting names of high-dollar donors on public school facilities, and have raised questions about whether the foundation is best equipped for such a campaign.
The state’s inspector general reviewed the plan at the city’s request and determined that Newton should use the competitive bid process for choosing the effort’s manager.
The foundation had hoped to launch the technology fund-raising campaign, with the sale of naming rights as a major component, in the fall.
The foundation is still interested in bidding for the campaign, but is waiting for the city to make a decision about the next step, said Rick Iacobucci, its executive director.
“We are on hold,” Iacobucci said. “We understand things happen.”
The foundation can still launch a fund-raiser without using the sale of naming rights as an incentive for big donors, but it’s unlikely to raise as much money, Iacobucci said.
“There will be a campaign, the question is whether the campaign will include naming rights,” he said.