County schools set to approve bid on school bus advertising
Published 8:29 am Tuesday, January 20, 2015
This week, members of the Carter County Board of Education are slated to approve a bid to place advertisements on school buses.
The Board previously approved the idea of allowing ads to be placed on the buses and bid the project out. The bids will be unsealed today and presented to the Board during its regular meeting on Thursday.
When the idea first came up, Transportation Director Wayne Sams said he had his doubts.
“When I first saw this in June, I was against it,” Sams said. “But the more I looked into it and researched it, the better I liked it. I think it will be a good source of revenue.”
Sams and Director of Schools Kevin Ward began working on the idea in July.
“I’ve done a lot of research on it and I’ve worked closely with our state inspectors on this,” Sams said, adding he has spoken with other school districts who have the program.
Several counties in Tennessee currently allow advertisements on school buses, with the closest being Greene County, Sams said.
“Greene County said it was an adjustment period for everyone because it was something people hadn’t seen before,” Sams said. “Blount County and Cumberland county have been very pleased with the revenue.”
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is super pleased with this,” he added.
In December, a representative from a company hoping to win the contract spoke to Board members during a workshop session. Then, during the Board’s regular December meeting, members voted unanimously to approve the placing of ads on the buses and put the project up for bid on the advice of their attorney.
Once the contract is approved, the company will pay Carter County for the use of the advertising space on the buses.
“We are hoping to generate some additional funds to purchase camera systems for all of our buses,” Sams said.
For those worried about what sorts of things will be advertised, Sams said nothing offensive will be allowed.
“Everything has to be child friendly,” he said. “We will have the final say on what is advertised on our buses.”
State regulations which permit advertising on school buses also restrict what kinds of things can be advertised, Sams said. Under state regulations, ads for tobacco or alcohol products are not allowed and political advertisements are “expressly prohibited.”
Under the terms of the contract the Carter County school system put out to bid, the following restrictions were put in place:
• All advertising message copy/content is subject to the final approval by the Director of Schools and the Supervisor of Transportation
• No sexual, gambling, alcohol, tobacco or political content will be permitted
• This District will also have the right to reject any other type of advertising that might be deemed inappropriate
• A maximum of two advertisements measuring 16 inches by 60 inches will be allowed on each school bus. One on the rear passenger side and one of the rear driver side of the bus.
• All advertising shall follow the restrictions set by Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2109 (e).