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(TRENTON) — Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Connie Wagner and Joan Voss to allow ads on school buses to help schools boost revenue was signed into law on Thursday. The measure (A-1637) will allow school districts to sell advertising space on the exterior sides of school buses owned or leased by the school district.

“With other states generating as much as $1,000 per bus, this law is designed to increase revenue for school districts to provide needed services,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “With schools everywhere at a loss for state aid, and cuts being felt as classes get underway again, this is an easy way for schools to generate additional revenue to help keep programs running and activity fees to a minimum.”

The law will require 50 percent of any revenue generated by the sale to be used by the board to offset the fuel costs of providing pupil transportation services and the remaining 50 percent of the revenue would be used to support programs and services the board deems appropriate.

“Given the state’s current fiscal crisis, any mechanism that might increase a school district’s revenue and does not negatively impact the education of students should be explored as a viable option,” said Voss (D-Bergen).

The law will also require all advertisements to be approved by the local board of education prior to their use. Advertisements for tobacco or alcohol products or for political advocacy are prohibited, in addition to any other advertisements that the Commissioner of Education deems inappropriate.

Under the law, the Commissioner of Education is required to report to the Governor and to the Legislature within one year of the bill’s effective date, and annually thereafter, concerning advertising on school buses. The report will include the number of boards of education that permit the advertising and the fiscal benefits that have been derived as a result of the advertising.

Currently, advertising on the exterior or interior of school buses is prohibited under state law.