Missouri considers ads on school buses

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Missouri lawmakers are discussing a bill that will allow advertisements on school buses.

House bill 1273 would require the Missouri Board of Education to make rules for local school boards to lease out school bus space both inside and outside, to advertisers.

Some ads would not be allowed, such as anything promoting alcohol, gambling, drugs, or other illegal activity.

Fifty percent of the revenue would go to student transportation costs, like gassing up the school busses. The other 50 percent, would be up to the school board.

Advertisers would be required to pay for the cost to put up and tear down the ad before and after the lease.

Ads would not be allowed on the front, rear, or driver's side of the bus.

Independent drivers, who own school busses and drive for districts, may lease out their space to the school board to lease to advertisers. The individual bus owner would get 10 percent of the total value of the advertising contract.

"Transportation has been cut in half in the past 2 years so we really need the money," said Perryville Superintendent Kevin Dunn."It's something to think about and I think you'll see more of these things come up thinking outside the box and thinking creatively to come up with solutions to our problem."

"I think it's a really good idea," said Perryville resident Theresa Weldele.

Weldele supports the school bus advertising idea.

"Money's tight and if it helps bring money back into the schools that could help with a lot of things," said Weldele.

But Perryville native David Dunker, isn't quite on board with the proposal.

"I don't want to distract from the school bus and look like a billboard driving down the street," said Dunker.

There's two things people seem to be talking about the most; first, the content of the ads.

"We're trying to send a message and I think it's very important the message we send kids growing up so certainly we have to be careful what the content is so we don't send mixed messages to our students," said Dunn.

"They're going to go to go to McDonald's anyway stuff like that I don't think it's going to hurt the children because they get it other places," said Dunker.

Second, they're talking about the distraction to other cars.

"A person might be reading the sign and not see the lights on the school bus," said Dunker.

"Yellow school busses I think, the general public does a good job paying attention and trying to be safe around the school busses," said Dunn.

"I think at first it would be something new, but in time it would be just an ordinary thing, people would get used to it," said Weldele.

"Anytime you can increase the revenue for the schools that's a good thing, but sometimes the devil is in the details and I think we need more time to see how this looks," said Dunn.

The bill is currently in the "Urban Issues" committee.

If lawmakers pass the bill, it would go into effect at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

You can view HB 1273 here.

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