Pa. School District Opens Buses to Ads

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, February 24, 2012

"To advertise or not to advertise," that is the question — at least in the minds of many school districts feeling the pinch of Pennsylvania's cuts to education spending.

But while Hamlet had time to be wishy-washy and indecisive, many of the state's school districts don't.

Programs are being cut. District staffers are being laid off. State aid is eroding.

It's this quandary that prompted the Parkland School District near Allentown to take a stand against budget shortfalls by selling ad space inside their school buses — a Pennsylvania first.

It'll be a K-12 bus ride brought to you by slashed government spending.

Although many have spoken out against raising revenue in this manner, Parkland Superintendent Rich Sniscak says that his district was caught between a rock and a hard place.

"Obviously we're not looking to exploit children or any thing like that," Sniscak said. "I understand where people are sensitive to this issue, but people are sensitive to having programs cut too, and they're sensitive to having rising class sizes. So we have to weigh all the factors and make decisions that maybe 10 years ago, in different circumstances, we probably wouldn't even have thought of needing to do."

Sniscak maintains that the content for the advertisements will be selected with a very narrow focus — age-appropriate things such as nutrition and higher education.

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