The commercialization of our schools could get a lot worse in the coming months.
Currently, only Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico allow advertising on the exterior of school buses. Some others, such as Pennsylvania, allow ads inside school buses. But more states are considering overturning their long-standing prohibitions on school bus ads in a misguided attempt to solve their budget deficits. The financial plight of schools is extremely worrisome, but turning school buses into traveling billboards for everything from fast food to violent and sexualized media is not the answer.
And while it is wrong to sell out students at any price, school bus advertising hardly generates any income for schools. Click here for more information on school bus ad revenue.
Please click on the links below to check out the status of school bus advertising in your state. (If it is not listed then your state is not currently considering a bill). Then follow the “Take Action” link to tell your legislators to keep school buses commercial-free.
An act to amend the education law, in relation to advertising on the exterior sides of school buses
STATUS: As of 1/08/14, this bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education. No hearings or votes have yet been scheduled.
SYNOPSIS: Authorizes the board of education of any school district in the state to enter into a contract for the sale of advertising space on the exterior sides of school buses owned or leased by the school district; prohibits advertisements for tobacco or alcohol products or for political advocacy; provides all advertisements require prior approval by the local board of education; provides revenue to be retained by the school district making such contract; provides provisions do not apply to cities with a population of one million or more.
BILL TEXT: S1587A
An act to authorize local boards of education to place advertisements on school buses.
STATUS: As of 1/24/14, this bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and has had two readings.
SYNOPSIS: A local board of education may authorize the placement, erection, and maintenance of commercial advertisements on school buses owned or operated by that local board. No advertisements shall interfere in the safe operation of a school bus. The local board may establish any terms and conditions for the authorization of advertisements, but this bill contains no restrictions on the content of the advertisements.
BILL TEXT: HB 811
Commercial advertisements on public school buses
STATUS: As of 1/14/14, this bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Public Works. No hearings or votes have yet been scheduled.
SYNOPSIS: A school district must offer for sale the placement of child-friendly commercial advertisements on the sides and back of public school buses operated in the district consistent with guidelines developed by the State Board of Education. “Child-friendly” is defined as devoid of material considered inappropriate for children such as sexually-oriented text or images, profanity, violence, and references to the use of items that constitute contraband in a school such as alcohol, tobacco products, weapons, and illegal drugs, [does] not promote foods or beverages of minimal nutritional value, or any other product or service that the local school board considers. The provisions of this section are mandatory for a bus owned by the State or a private contractor who provides bus service to a public school, but are optional for a bus owned by a local school or school district; provided, however, that a school or district only may offer for sale the placement of an advertisement on a school bus owned by the school or district if it complies with the provisions of this section.
BILL TEXT: H. 4369
An amendment to House Bill 1062 enacting a pilot project for the display of paid advertisements on school buses.
STATUS: The section of the bill that would have allowed for a school bus advertising pilot project has been removed from the final text of the bill. However, some lawmakers are hoping to revive the measure next year, so keep an eye out!
SYNOPSIS: This bill would have enacted a pilot project for the display of paid advertisements on school buses operated by or on behalf of Beech Grove City Schools, Franklin Township Community School Corporation, and Zionsville Community Schools. The school districts shall deposit the revenue from the sale of the advertising one school buses in the school district's transportation fund. Advertisements on the school buses must "be consistent with community standards" and be "age and developmentally appropriate" and "may not...contain sexual material." There is, however, no explicit ban on advertising junk food or violent media.
BILL TEXT: House Bill 1062 (pages 10-11)