2013-03-07 / Front Page

Jackson board gets closer to approving ads on buses

JACKSON — In the coming weeks, the people responsible for running the Jackson School District may say yes to the idea of advertising being placed on the outside of school buses.

Officials said permitting advertising to be placed on school buses would generate revenue that could help to pay for fuel, insurance and repairs to an aging fleet.

When selecting a potential advertising campaign, administrators are prohibited from displaying advertisements that:

 are false, misleading, deceptive, disrespectful, fraudulent or libelous;

 contain language that is obscene, vulgar or reasonably determined not to be in good taste;

 promote unlawful or illegal goods, services or activities;

 promote gambling, tobacco, alcohol or any products designed for use in connection with sexual activity;

 depict or glamorize violent or antisocial behavior or sexual conduct;

 declare or imply an endorsement by the Board of Education;

 are political, religious, issues-related, controversial or age-inappropriate.

The school board and district administrators have the final say on which advertisements would ultimately be placed on a bus.

“We would have the last say on every single advertisement,” school Business Administrator

Michelle Richardson said.

While Jackson has a fleet of about 150 buses, advertisements might not be placed on every vehicle. The number of vehicles that would carry an advertisement would be set forth in a contract.

Administrators have had preliminary discussions with a number of advertising agencies that specialize in school bus ads. While some companies are offering to take a percentage of the advertising revenue that is generated, other firms are requesting an upfront payment from their services.

“I am only interested in going with companies who will not ask for an upfront payment,” Richardson said.

State regulations mandate that half the funds raised through school bus advertisements must be used to offset transportation costs. The remaining funds go into the miscellaneous revenue portion of the district’s annual operating budget.

“Hopefully, [the bus ads] will generate some revenue to bring programs to the students and help reduce transportation costs,” Richardson said.

In other news, the board is expected to adopt a tentative budget for 2013-14 on March 7. The board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget and vote on the school bus advertising issue on March 21.

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