(8) The state board of education shall promulgate rules authorizing local boards of trustees to sell advertising space on school buses. Such rules shall provide for the safe placement of such advertising and shall provide for reasonable restrictions on advertising content.
Idaho’s Senate passed a bill (S1111) Tuesday that will allow advertising on school buses. Like many laws passed in Idaho, this one raises more questions than it provides answers. For instance, nothing in the language of the bill addresses the issue of private school bus companies posting ads on their buses and keeping the revenue.
In fact, absent any rules to the contrary, the ad money could go to administrator bonuses, teacher salaries, sports, or field trips. Which begs the even bigger question: What about First Student, the private firm contracting with Boise School District or any other private carrier? A manager at First Student declined to talk with the GUARDIAN about the issue, saying they would follow the wishes of the Boise School District.
A spokesperson at the State Board refused comment as well saying, “We have not established a position on the bill.” If it passes, there won’t be any choice. The law will mandate that rules will come from the top down. Here are some items for the Board to consider if the bill makes it through the House:
–Will school districts need to hire “account execs to sell ads?”
–Will buses be billboards for condom ads (they teach sex ed in classes)?
–Do private carriers need permission of the district to sell ads?
–Will routes be set to get maximum exposure for ads?
–Will lighted signs like those of pizza delivery rigs be allowed?
–Will there be ratings periods for bus ads like TV “sweeps”?
–Will the State Board hire auditors to monitor ad content and direct the cash flow?
We can see the “naming rights” coming up next, based upon the success of high school athletic teams. Also, it won’t be long before the sharp ad sales execs come up with the idea of selling ad space on the INSIDE of the bus aimed at the kids.
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