Wheel$ on the Bu$ Go…Ka-Ching!

The yellow box on wheels (AKA school bus) may become yet another outlet for the advertising industry and for school districts to make a little buck. Three bills have been introduced by New Jersey legislators that would allow school districts to sell ads on the sides of buses they rent or own, as reported by The Press of Atlantic City

This effort would help schools raise money while keeping New Jersey taxpayers a little richer and a lot happier (because they won’t have to pay higher taxes).

Decorating school buses with ads has been a fashion faux pau, so-to-speak; it was a practice banned in New Jersey since about 1985, according to Michael Yaple of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Now, twenty something years later, this proposal has caused quite a bit of controversy.

“I do think it’s a decent piece of legislation in tough fiscal times…I think that anything that helps the taxpayers out is definitely something we have to look at,” said Assemblyman John F. Amodeo for Atlantic county and co-sponsor of the third bill.

Another point to consider:

“I don’t want people to look at school buses and read the signs. I want people to see the school bus and say ‘whoops’, I better stop,” said Warren Fipp, school transportation Director in Egg harbor Township.

Another co-sponsor of the third bill is Assemblyman Douglas H. Fisher of Salem, Gloucester and Cumberland counties. State Senator Jim Whelan of Atlantic County wants to look into the bill more.

Two of the bills currently in committee state that all money raised would go to the district’s general fund. The third bill specifies how raised funds would be divvied up—half would be spent to offset district transportation costs, the other half would be spent on whatever the district deems appropriate. The third bill also says the state Board of Education will release ad criteria such as legal sizes and age appropriateness.

The state commissioner could ban inappropriate ads, such as alcohol, tobacco or political advocacy advertisements.

In Pennsylvania, ads are permitted on the inside of buses. Delaware bans school bus ads all together.

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