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Gov. Christie Considering School Bus Ads Bill

Gov. Chris Christie (Photo/Getty Images), School Bus (Photo/Clipart.com)

Gov. Chris Christie (Photo/Getty Images), School Bus (Photo/Clipart.com)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s cash-strapped public school districts may soon be able to raise money by soliciting school bus advertising.

The measure was recently sent to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk after the state Legislature gave its final approval to the plan, which would allow ads on the outside of buses that districts own or lease.

It was not known when or if Christie would act on the legislation.

The districts would set their own ad rates, determine how many ads are sold and their size. But ads for tobacco or alcohol products or ones that push a political agenda would not be allowed.

The bill requires boards of education to use half the revenue the ads generate to defray fuel costs for student busing. The other half could go toward school programs or services the individual districts deem appropriate.

The senate approved the bill last Monday, about two months after it passed in the Assembly. About half a dozen states, including Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas, allow bus advertising, and a handful more are considering it.

Proponents of the New Jersey bill say it practically amounts to free money.

But critics say school bus ads would amount to blatant commercialization.

The measure was backed by the New Jersey School Boards Association, which noted that it’s optional for districts to participate and that local school boards will have the authority to approve ads.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)