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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maybe this will pay for the class size amendment


By Don Germaise

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida senator is proposing a plan to let school districts sell advertising on buses to raise money.

Sen. Bill Montford (D) Tallahassee filed the bill shortly after Governor Rick Scott called for a 10% cut in education funding in Florida. Montford's bill (SB 1124) will "authorize commercial advertisements on school buses."

The proposal was immediately criticized in Hillsborough County, where the school district is facing a $108 million budget cut. "I appreciate the gesture," said school board member Candy Olson. "This is like telling the navy to build their aircraft carriers by holding bake sales. It's a drop in the bucket."

Hillsborough County's mass transit agencey, HART, already sells advertising on buses. It brings in about $600,000 in revenue annually, far less than the district's proposed budget deficit.

One parent was also worried about the content of possible ads. "Advertisers aren't worried about our kids," said Dan Johnson. "They're trying to make money. They're not out for the best interests of our kids. They're marketing to them."

A call to Senator Montford to ask about his bill was not immediately returned.

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