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CRANSTON – The Cranston School District is considering placing advertisements on the sides of its school buses as a means of generating revenue, according to The Associated Press.
City leaders and education officials for the district – the third largest in Rhode Island – argue school bus advertisements are a better alternative to tax hikes or further budget cuts, which caused programs such as freshman football to be cut. The move, which would require the General Assembly to lift a longtime ban on school bus advertising, could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, the district hopes.
Seven states already allow the practice, and more are considering it after years of financial challenges wrought by the downturn, the AP reported earlier this month.
The thought of advertising junk food, fast food or video games raises concerns with some who said the ads won’t raise enough revenue to put a dent in the district’s deficit.
“We have this incredible childhood obesity problem and I don’t think we should be advertising potato chips, soda and all that stuff,” City Councilman Steven Stycos told the AP. He was the only council member to vote against a recent resolution encouraging lawmakers to allow bus ads.
Sen. John Tassoni, D-Smithfield, said he will introduce the legislation again when lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January. •