|New Jersey Enacts School Bus Advertising Law|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Friday, 07 January 2011 09:14|
Gov. Chris Christie signed into effect Assembly bill 1637 to allow local school systems to erect billboard-like advertising on the outside of school buses as a way to generate revenue to offset fuel costs.
The new law states that 50 percent of ad revenue at each school participating in the ad program must be for fuel necessary to bus students. The remaining revenue must used to support "any programs and services the [local school] board may deem appropriate."
According to the Associated Press, New Jersey joins the likes of Arizona, Colorado, Florida* [Editor's note: see comment Disqus comment, below], Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas as states allowing some kind of school bus advertising, whether inside or outside the bus. The Florida Association of Pupil Transportation also published a position paper this month on school bus advertising that explains the organization's opposition to the practice.
First, the New Jersey state board of education must create rules and regulations as to the size of ads, the age-appropriateness and suitability of any messaging that can be posted on the sides of the buses and the exact size and location of ads. A spokesperson with the state department of education said this process could take several months to complete. The law already states that advertisements for alcohol or tobacco products are prohibited as are "any other advertisements for products or services or by sponsors that the Commissioner of Education deems inappropriate."
Local school boards would be required to give prior approval of ads before they are reviewed by the state. A spokesman for Rep. Concetta Wagner, the bill's sponsor, said research into other state school bus ad programs indicated that school districts could expect to raise at least $1,000 to $1,500 per bus per year. But at least one school district thinks the potential revenue can be even higher.
"We're looking at possibly somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000 per bus depending on how we structure the actual advertising contract with the vendor so we can garner the most financial benefit," said Bryan McGair, assistant superintendant of Medford County Public Schools.
The New Jersey School Bus Owners Association opposes the law because of safety concerns.
"We are of the option that advertising will give the impression that the school districts are more concern [sic] with money than they are with safety," the association said in a statement on its Web site.
The state board of education must report to Gov. Christie and the state legislature within one year and thereafter on an annual basis the number of school districts that permit the advertising and the fiscal benefits for each district.
Under the law, advertisements inside the school bus remain illegal.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:01|