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Ads on Schools Get Council Nod

City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow the School District of Philadelphia to sell advertising space on its buildings.

The only member of the Rules Committee to vote against the bill, Councilman Dennis O'Brien, said he was doing so because he thought the focus should remain on state lawmakers to adequately fund the school district.

Fran Burns, the district's chief operating officer, told the committee that the district was "supportive and cooperative" in exploring the idea but cautioned that passage of the bill "does not guarantee execution."

The bill's sponsor, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, noted that large school district around the country allow advertising and that New York City made $6 million last year on its fleet of school buses alone.

Brown's bill would not allow tobacco or alcohol advertisements, and Brown said she was open to other restrictions on unhealthy foods.

"So imagine, like in California, a West Philadelphia football field paid for by Nike," she said.

Brown described advertising as providing "much needed revenue" for a district still grappling with a $304 million budget shortfall this year.

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