by Michael J. Mishak, LA Times/LA Now | http://lat.ms/zd0I2k
February 29, 2012, 2:33 pm | Sacramento :: Tough times call for creativity.
So as California's cash-strapped schools look for ways to balance their books, GOP Senate leader Bob Huff wants to give them a new option: school-bus advertising.
The Diamond Bar Republican has introduced a bill that would allow school districts to sell ad space on the exterior of school buses. The legislation also gives districts the flexibility to use the funds however they see fit.
“California’s fiscal mismanagement has resulted in budgetary woes for our state’s public education system,” Huff said in a statement. “Extracurricular programs have been cut and funding for pupil transportation has been threatened. My legislation provides a new and needed source of funding for our schools at no cost to taxpayers.”
The lawmaker noted that state law already gives school districts the right to sell advertising space inside school buses, on campuses and in sports facilities. If Huff's legislation passes, California would join seven states, including New Jersey and Utah, that have enacted similar bills on school-bus advertising.
Citing a state Department of Education study, the lawmaker said 127 school districts face "severe financial jeopardy" because of state budget cuts.
To avoid deeper reductions, Gov. Jerry Brown hopes to sell voters on a tax hike that he plans to put on the November ballot. His budget calls for a painful $4.8-billion cut in public school funding if voters reject the levies.
Photo: A student flashes the peace sign after boarding a school bus at Taft High School in Woodland Hills on Feb. 2. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times