A SPONSORSHIP deal between a Southern government school and a sex shop has raised questions about the scope of public-private partnerships in schools, according to the state's peak parents' group.
A source said the shop was understood to have had some connection to the school, possibly through a student's family, and that resulted in a major component of a program being partly named after that business last year.
Tasmanian State School Parents and Friends president Jenny Eddington said such deals could raise more issues than they were worth and it was important there were clear guidelines for schools.
"Generally schools welcome donations and if it's philanthropic, there wouldn't really be a problem with it," she said.
However, Ms Eddington said this could be a slippery slope when it came to private companies donating goods or services, and previous deals with fast-food chains had come into question.
Australian Education Union state president Terry Polglase said the union was strongly against private company deals with schools.
"Woolies isn't going to give away money for nothing - what does it get out of it?" Mr Polglase asked.
He said that if the government was going to go down that path, the union would need to define what was the purpose of the deal, how long it would last and the conditions tied to it, and it would need the support of the principal, staff and community.
Education Department deputy secretary Andrew Finch said: "The department has in place long-standing arrangements for schools to acquire contributions from the private sector or the broader community."
He said these could be either less formal arrangements made at a school level or more significant contributions that would require authorisation from the department.
Mr Finch said the department encouraged partnerships between community organisations, businesses and schools that contributed to the quality of student learning.
Opposition education spokesman Michael Ferguson said a school that built strong business and community support was vibrant.
However, he said private- sector funding should never be used as an excuse for complacency or budget cuts.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Michael Bailey said many businesses around the state understood the importance of giving back to the community and willingly supported schools.