RAISING NEW dough is on City Council's to-do list, and members see dollar signs on school buses.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation yesterday that would allow advertising on the city's 1,250 school buses. That would yield roughly $1 million a year to help the school district, which recently said that it must cut another $61 million from its budget.
"Some might argue that's a drop in the bucket, but when school boards have to figure out the difference between an art and music teacher or new textbooks or fewer costs, let's explore how we can fund those needed items," Reynolds Brown said.
Like the bill she introduced last week to keep bars open an hour later to generate more money for schools, the measure depends on the passage of state legislation. Certain types of ads would be banned, including those touting tobacco or alcohol, or containing sexual or political material.
There is already some opposition to the idea. "Once you start using advertising as a way to fund education, it's a really slippery slope - a slope that can lead to advertising in classrooms and hallways," said Josh Golin, associate director of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.Mary Tracy, of SCRUB, an anti-blight organization vocal against outdoor advertising, said that the ads potentially could distract drivers.
It's not clear if the Nutter administration supports the idea. Spokesman Mark McDonald said that it will analyze the plan and offer testimony if there's a hearing.
In other news:
* Council members Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Bill Green introduced a bill to create a land bank for city-owned vacant lots and properties. A seven-person board would manage the process of redeveloping more than 10,000 lots and properties owned by the city.