Florida Considers School Bus Advertising
Movies! Cereal! Brand name clothing! Amusement parks!
These are just a few of the industries that may soon benefit from one more way to publicize their wares and services to children and their families.
On January 12, the PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives approved Public School Buses bill CS/HB-19 by a vote of 12-2, which would permit paid advertising on the side of school buses beginning July 1, 2012.
The bill must now be approved by the Education Committee before going before the House for a vote.
If it passes, individual school districts in Florida will be free to choose whether or not to sell advertising on their school buses, within certain limits.
- No sexual, gambling, alcohol, tobacco or political content would be permitted. (Districts would have the right to determine if any other type of advertising is inappropriate.)
- A maximum of two advertisements measuring two feet by six feet would be allowed on each school bus.
- Advertisers must pay to prepare buses for promotional purposes, including retrofitting the school buses, paint, signage, installation and contract costs associated with the advertising.
- Revenues must be allocated according to specific percentages: 50% to school district transportation, 40% to other school district programs, and 10% to driver education programs.
Although the bill does not list a specific number for potential revenue, stating that revenue will vary depending on the number of districts that participate, according to the Miami Herald one of the bill's co-sponsors expects additional income in the millions.
“It is estimated that we could raise $2 million in Orange County alone,” said Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, as reported in the Herald.
Through budget shortfalls and government cuts to education, school districts have been turning to parent donations and student fundraising for years, but as the crunch continues, some state and local governments are seeking creative solutions to increase revenue.Continued on the next page