In short, no. This picture was brought to my attention this morning so the Columbo (kids, ask your parents) in me set out to find out if tax payer dollars were being used to advertise on public school buses. My answer came swiftly from multiple sources and raised even more questions.

To make things clear, the Weld County School District (6), is in no way governed by the City of Greeley; they are their own entity. That being said, tax payer dollars still come into question for funding the school district.

I spoke with Theresa Myers earlier today and she assured me that tax payer dollars are not being used for any ads you may see on school buses now, or in the future.  The ads are being sold by Spot On Solutions, and that's all they do; put revenue back into Colorado school districts.  Spot On Solutions goes out and finds clients and they pay the school districts, including Weld County, to run the ads on busses.  I think it's a brilliant idea actually especially for school districts who need the help, like Weld County, one of the poorest.

The money that Weld County is raising from these ads goes directly into their general fund to pay for services to students; such as teachers, supplies, buildings and staff.

We rank 170 out of 178 districts in per pupil funding. We are one of five districts in the state that does not have a local mill levy override to help fund the district. We are constantly looking for ways to legally and morally raise revenue. School bus advertising is becoming more and more common in many districts as a supplemental revenue source - Theresa Myers / Director of Communications, Weld County District 6

In the picture on this story, it's an ad for an anti-tobacco campaign.  You all know where I stand on tobacco and I'm a smoker.  It's one of the deadliest substances known to man and I personally think it, along with alcohol, should be illegal.  So, I have no problem at all sending this message to our kids: DON'T USE TOBACCO! Alcohol is the MOST dangerous drug to man and still allowed to advertise anywhere they want including glamorous TV ads.  When was the last time you saw the Marlboro Man on TV?  (kids, ask your parents.)

So can anyone then advertise on a school bus?  Yes, if you fall into an acceptable category and follow guidelines. Here is a partial idea of what is NOT allowed:

  • Any kind of “hate” literature that scurrilously attacks ethnic, religious or any racial groups
  • Material that promotes hostility, disorder or violence
  • Material designed for commercial purposes–advertising a product or service for sale or rent–unless the material itself has educational value that makes the commercial message a secondary consideration
  • Material that is libelous, invades the rights of others or inhibits the functioning of the school, or advocates interference with the rights of any individual or with the normal operation of the school
  • Material which in any way promotes, favors or opposes the candidacy of any candidate for election, or the adoption of any bond issues proposal, or any public question submitted at any general, municipal or school election. The prohibition shall not apply on any election day or special election when the school is being used as a polling place
  • Material that is obscene or pornographic as defined by prevailing community standards throughout the district

Bottom line is that Weld County needs all the help they can get and our kids shouldn't have to pay that price.  If you have a non-profit business or charity then maybe you can not only benefit from this service but also give back to your community where it really counts...with our kids.