Falcon district scores an ‘A’ with school bus ads

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Local cash-strapped school districts have shown more than a bit of business savvy in their operations lately.

Word came this week that Falcon District 49 struck a deal with a private company to mount advertisements on the sides of its school buses.

It’s a good idea.

Finding money is a dilemma for most publicly funded institutions nowadays. When state money gets tight, education funding, both K-12 and secondary, gets cut. Districts depend on property taxes for revenue, and our region’s mill levies are some of the lowest in the nation.

Our schools dodged a bullet in November when Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 threatened to eliminate thousands of teaching jobs.

Public schools provide an immeasurable service to society, so we’re glad to see them turn to a private-sector strategy to beef up their bottom lines.

Detractors might not like the idea of turning buses into mobile media kiosks, but it’s not as if the kids aren’t already seeing plenty of advertising.

Advertising like this is everywhere. It’s on taxis, mass transit buses, athletic fields (think Coors, Invescon and Security Service).

Heck, even the City of Colorado Springs got on board with the idea when it sold sidewalk advertising to Penrose Hospital and street parking-lane ads to public awareness campaigns, like “Buckle Up.”

Falcon isn’t even the first school district to take hold of the idea.

School District 11 has been doing it for some time. California lawmakers have toyed with the idea, too, to alleviate their massive public education funding shortfalls.

The idea has helped out a local business, too.

Ad company Spot On Solutions pitched the idea to the districts with a hard-to-beat selling point.

School districts, it said, would benefit from revenue generated by the advertisements, and no financial investment was needed. In other words, there’s no risk, only gain.

Spot on Solutions estimated Falcon could earn $10,000 during its first year in the program. It’s not much, but those dollars could help fund a program or two.