Homestead to get on-campus Kohler Credit Union branch
Naming-rights arrangement could earn $150,000 for MTSD

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

June 22, 2017

MEQUON — Kohler Credit Union will locate a small branch in the lobby of the Homestead High School field house as part of a sponsorship agreement that could funnel $150,000 to the school district over 15 years.

The Mequon-Thiensville School Board unanimously approved a contract with KCU Monday that permits the branch for use by students and staff, installation of an ATM in the lobby and a variety of financial education resources for the school.

As part of the agreement, Homestead’s smaller main gym – where most varsity basketball games are played – will be named for Kohler Community Credit Union for the duration of the sponsorship agreement.

Superintendent Demond Means called the agreement an “innovative proposal” that has been nearly a year in the making. He said the small branch – which will be built over the summer at KCU’s expense – will provide valuable experience to students who can be hired to work there in tandem with a KCU employee.

The credit union branch will be the first in a school in the Milwaukee area, although they exist elsewhere, Means said. This will be KCU’s fifth branch located in a school. Others are in Sheboygan North, South and Central high schools and Howards Grove High School, said Laura Gabrielse, KCU’s vice president of communications.

Means said the relationship is about much more than receiving income from naming rights. The school district adopted a policy several years ago authorizing the granting of naming rights for various school facilities. A facility adjacent to the football stadium with team rooms and a concession stand was named the Sommer’s Automotive Pavilion last year.

KCU will supply supplemental financial literacy materials to support courses offered at Homestead High School and the two middle schools. KCU also will supply guest speakers for those classes.

KCU President Tony Klockow said the credit union is committed to supporting programs and initiatives that strengthen the financial knowledge of its members and the community.

“In pursuing our dedication to financial literacy, it became apparent that working with our local school systems and educators was a natural fit,” he said. “Having a branch in a school setting sets the stage for real-world exposure to financial management.”

Klockow added he and others at KCU look forward to the new partnership with the M-T schools.

“The Homestead High School administration and School Board recognize the importance of financial education,” he said. “We’re honored and excited to help support their desire to make sure their students have solid financial skills.”

Under the 15-year naming rights agreement, KCU will provide $50,000 for the first five years and an additional $50,000 in the second and third five-year periods.

The revenue will be used to “offset costs in operational areas,” such as reducing class sizes, hiring additional paraprofessional staff, assisting with areas that are under-budgeted, paying construction costs or adding to the district’s fund balance, according to a memo to board members written by Means.

Board member Wendy Francour praised the arrangement, calling it “generous, exciting and innovative.” She added that having an ATM on campus will be a convenience for students, staff and visitors.

“I think it’s a huge win for our staff, our students and our district,” she said.

KCU is a $340 million not-for-profit financial cooperative owned and governed by its members. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. Locally, KCU has branches in Mequon and Grafton.

While administrators and board members touted the variety of benefits of the arrangement, member Stephanie Clark jokingly pointed to a potential down-side of having a branch and ATM in the field house lobby.

“If this is approved, parents will no longer be able to say, ‘I’m out of money’ at the concession stand,” she said.

Email: gachterberg@conleynet.com