Getting creative to fund local schools -- that's what one Missouri lawmaker wants to do to help strained budgets across the Show-Me State. Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, wants to allow advertisements on school buses.
"I have a lot of rural schools that are having issues with funding and bus transportation," Kelley said in an interview by telephone.
"We really don't know exactly what our budgeting is going to be, year to year," said Nixa School District Communication Director Zac Rantz.
A little help could be on the way thanks to Kelley's bill in the Missouri House.
"There is no reason for the state to restrict these opportunities and that's what currently is the case," said Kelley.
The House's Urban Issues Committee held a hearing on the bill on Monday but hasn't voted on it.
"There will be limited advertising allowed on the inside, above windows, like what you see on current public transportation," he said. "There would be advertising allowed on the passenger side on the bus."
However, ads would not be allowed on the front of the bus, the driver's side, or the back.
The ads would be very similar to what you see at local football fields and basketball courts.
"We do restrict the kind of ads that can come in the district, so that helps protect it so the school doesn't become a battleground for politics or any of sensitive issues," said Rantz.
"Your local banks, your local insurance agents, -- you're not going to see alcohol, you're not going to see tobacco," Kelley said.
For school districts that have seen funding dwindle over the past few years, it's a welcome suggestion.
"Currently, with the budget situation the last couple of years, school funding is not where it needs to be," said Kelley.
"It's a place for learning. That's what it is above all. This just gives us an extra way to fund that learning process," said Rantz.
Kelley expects the bill to pass in the House. He is looking for a colleague in the Senate to introduce it, but believes it can pass there as well. That means schools could easily start selling ads by the next school year.