Advertisements on Muscogee County school buses could bring the d - WRBL

Advertisements on Muscogee County school buses could bring the district extra money

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One Muscogee County School Board member is researching an idea that would turn the big yellow school bus into a money-making machine.  
Board Member Mark Cantrell said placing advertisements on buses could drive a lot of money into the district. He said it's just brainstorming and gathering the facts right now, but he's interested in getting feedback from the community. 
The idea would involve allowing local businesses to place banners on the sides of the 268 school buses currently on the roads in Muscogee County. "Advertising is nothing new in school districts. You go to any football field, you got the television screens, the billboards out on the football and baseball fields."
As school districts across the country continue to face dwindling tax dollars,   said this would be a new way to bring in potentially thousands of dollars. "Anytime you can think outside of the box and think of something that would bring in some money, you need to investigate it and see if it's a worthwhile plan," Cantrell said. 

Cantrell said the ads would be family-friendly. "There's nothing in the world that you would put on that school bus that would be bad for children."
He prefers the idea of using the banners to promote the district. "You know if you got 100-150 buses running around town all day long adopt-a-school, would you adopt your school program; this is a way that you could get people into the school as far as wanting to put... not advertising, but motivating their kids and a way to raise money."

But commercial ads on school buses is nothing new. It's been done in about six states, including three school districts in Tennessee. Those districts work with Atlanta-based District Solutions. They do not pay for anything up front and get 55 percent of the profits. The other 45 percent goes to the ad company. 

 Todd Isaac, founder of District Solutions said school districts can earn a sizable chunk of money. "It could be tens of thousands of dollars per year for the school district or it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars, just depending on the market size."
 While the Georgia Board of Education discourages ads on school buses because it could likely distract drivers there is not a law that prohibits it in the state. 

Isaacs is currently working to get a state representative to sponsor and draft a bill that would lay the foundation for local districts to decide if they want to do it.
The consumer group "Commercial Alert" also dislikes the idea and said the concept teaches children that they are for sale.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

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