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RCB SCHOOL BUS 02.JPGRides to school -- by Campbell's Soup? School funding has gotten so bad that one California lawmaker is proposing to allow commercial advertising outside school buses.

Senate Bill 1295, by Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, would allow school districts to decide for themselves whether to sell ads for school buses and how to spend any revenue raised.

"We're looking at a way for districts to find another source of funding without placing additional burdens on taxpayers," said Bill Bird, spokesman for Huff.

SB 1295 comes at a time when many school bus programs are threatened with cuts and Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, is warning that one-third of public school districts are in fiscal jeopardy.

Seven states have adopted laws similar to SB 1295, Bird said.

California currently permits advertising inside school buses and on the exterior of campus buildings, lunch tables, in hallways, and in yearbooks or other school-related publications, Bird said.

Advertising outside school buses would get maximum exposure because the vehicles travel throughout the district every weekday, Bird said.

No estimate is available of how much revenue could be raised under the measure.

"The senator considers every additional dime to be positive," Bird said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jake Ames of Rio Linda High School washes a school bus shortly after the Twin Rivers Unified School District logo was applied on June 26, 2008. Sacramento Bee file / Renée C. Byer



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