Responding to a recent Westborough Patch story, a national vinyl graphics printing company today said it supports advertising on Westborough school buses.
JMR Graphics representative TJ Pannell said that "it’s very telling that a community member suggested using the school buses as moving billboards in order to increase Westborough School District’s revenue."
The school committee voted on Dec. 19 to present a $42,694,208 budget request, a 3.07 percent increase, to voters at the March 16 annual town meeting.
The figure does not include a school transportation fee. The board had discussed charging $200 per child, with a $500 family cap, to students in grades seven to 12, and to students in Kindergarten to grade six living within two miles of their school. The fee would raise a projected $240,000 if voters don’t support the budget request. Cuts would be the alternative, school officials say.
Pannell said today that “in this economy not everyone can afford an extra $200 to $500 a year. Parents and guardians don’t want to see a huge tax-increase, and the school district stands to make a profit if they move forward with this option."
“It’s a cost-effective way to offset the increasing unfunded mandates mentioned. If a company is targeting children, families, single parents, or education professionals, they will leap at the chance to purchase ad space on a school bus," he said in a press release.
However, Superintendent Marianne O’Connor said during the school committee's Dec. 19 budget public hearing that Westborough contracts out for school buses.
“We don’t own those buses,” she said.
“They’re not willing to allow us to advertise on them so we would have personal gain for the school system.”