Despite the recent approval by the State Board of Education of regulations allowing school boards to place advertisements on the sides of school buses, opinion is divided among board members as to whether to proceed with selling such ads, according to the latest School Board Notes 30-Second Survey.
The state regulations, approved in early May, would require boards of education to approve any advertising copy on school bus ads. The state regulations prohibit bus ads that promote gambling, tobacco, alcohol, or any products designed for use in connection with sexual activity; or ads that depict violent or anti-social behavior. Also, revenues from the advertising must offset fuel costs and support school programs.
Selling Ads? The survey asked readers whether their districts were considering selling advertising space. Only 3.4 percent of the responses noted that their district has already approved an action to sell advertising. Another 23.7 percent responded that they are considering it, but haven't taken action, while 25.4 percent were undecided. The largest single percentage, just over 27 percent, said that their districts are not considering selling bus advertising.
Many of those who checked the "other" response said their district doesn't have buses or contracts out their bus services – or that the issue simply has not come up for discussion in any meeting.
Selected comments on school bus advertising:
I am opposed. The ads distract from the safety and high visibility of school buses. School spaces should not be commercialized. No one can reasonably argue that we need more advertisements.
I'm all for revenues offsetting fuel costs and for funds to provide educational programs. I am concerned with possible controversial ads.
I'm leaning toward opposition to this idea – our children are exposed to so much advertising already. Even though there are some restrictions on the content of the ads, I can see difficulties in parsing the language of the statute and possibly offending some in the community, whatever the advertising might be.
We don't bus and only own a small bus for limited use, so I don't see a financial advantage for us.
As long as it conforms to appropriate standards I see no real harm. However, the placement of the signage should not be so prominent that there is no confusion that the vehicle is a school bus.
I do not support selling advertising space. Although schools need the money, we should avoid having our children ride to school in a moving billboard. It cheapens the image of what we're trying to do, which is educate the children and not make money off of sponsors.
I neither support nor oppose this but will consider the matter.
We outsource our transportation.
I'm not sure how I feel. It is an interesting way to raise money
I am personally not in favor of our buses becoming moving billboards. The potential for additional accidents while people are reading the moving buses is a deadly byproduct that hasn't been discussed. I also feel that districts will find the loopholes in ways to use the revenue.
Many school districts are being financially choked by the myriad of budgetary restrictions and mandates being imposed upon them daily, monthly and yearly by the State of New Jersey. Advertising is a huge revenue-based industry in our capitalistic society that goes on around us every day. Schools need to tap into this potential revenue resource to help them become a bit more financially independent and less financially dependent on sporadic and unreliable traditional sources of revenue.
School districts would be obliged to favoritism toward businesses, including the awarding of contracts, jobs, etc. Business would no longer feel obliged to support district events and activities. They would feel they have "paid" for the activity.
These are additional resources for the district to offset the cost of transportation.
I guess I support it, as long as it is in good taste. Money is tight, and all revenue flows must be investigated as to their validity, scope, and ramifications.
We may consider this if the ads are non-commercial in nature. For example, a DARE Program or MADD ad may be OK in the minds of our current board of education members.
Districts should do everything they can to find alternate revenue streams. As long as the ads are not going to cause a traffic accident, there is really no reason why a district should take the attitude that they don't want to bring in revenue other than raising taxes.
I think it is a good way to raise additional revenue. I think we need to be careful of who we select as advertisers. It may be construed as support of the products/services.
I support selling advertising on buses if the revenue received makes it worthwhile.
Given the cap on revenue of 2 percent from year to year and the increasing demand to implement costly programs and need to have new technology, it is incumbent upon every board to become entrepreneurs and find new sources of revenue.
I do not support advertising on school buses. Young minds should not be subject to advertising of any kind during the school day. This could also become a slippery slope: why allow ads for Juicy Juice and not Victoria's Secret?
It's a revenue source that is necessary since our funding has been drastically cut over the years. As long as the ads pertain to education, whether it's a college or a book publisher, it is OK.
This adds another headache for school boards to consider (we shouldn't be in the fundraising business), plus may pose potential conflicts to the community and district mission, depending on the content of the ads.