Plans to bring revenue by putting ads on bus

October 19, 2010 8:32:13 PM PDT
School buses in Fair Lawn would be among the first in New Jersey to display advertising.

"We have to start looking at more creative ways to bring a revenue stream into the district," comments Bruce Watson.

State Assembly Member Connie Wagner co-sponsors the bill, which would allow advertising on buses owned or leased by New Jersey school districts.

"This idea has been around for a long time and resurfaced again at the urging of superintendents who have seen dramatic cuts to their school budgets," said Connie Wager, Bergen County democrat.

Several states allow school bus ads. New Jersey co-sponsors of the bill say they have researched the practice in those states. "One school district generated as much as $186,000."

Tom Heaney, a school bus driver, comments, "anything to generate extra money and revenue for the towns are gonna be needed to happen, so I think it's a great idea."

The districts would control the content of the advertising.

"I live in Hawthorne and there is no busing, because we can't afford it. So I guess if you had the advertising to pay for the buses, it might help," said Mary Lou Rainey, a Bergen County resident.

Not everyone in this area thinks school bus ads are a good idea.

"I think that the school bus should just take care of the children and not get other things involved; and it might be a distraction to the drivers, also," said Ilana Schweitzer, a Bergen County Resident.

Kevin Lewis, a school bus driver, comments, "I think it would draw a lot of attention to the bus and I think it would be good."

Supporters expect criticism that ads would commercialize school kids. College student Ace Antonio is on the Paramus School Board.

"All of my friends, we wear Abercrombie, we wear H&M, we wear Gap, they represent their logo, so we're already being commercialized."

Assembly Member Wagner would like to see this bill signed, sealed and delivered by December, so they can plan on potential funds in their budgets for the next school year.