FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fort Smith Public Schools Transportation Division received a check for more than $16,000 Friday (Jan. 24) from Crosswalk Marketing Group.
The money is to support important safety initiatives for the district's 87 trips and route buses.
“These buses run routes every day and it gives us a great opportunity to share positive messages with our community about our students, our teachers, our programs, so we’re really grateful to our sponsors for making that possible,” said Superintendent Doug Brubaker.
Arkansas Act 941 provides the opportunity to generate extra revenue for school district transportation departments throughout the state.
Fort Smith Public Schools will use the additional money to promote positive messages for and about district students and their teachers.
One of the messages reads, "step up, speak out, together we can end child abuse." Another says, "support teachers."
“We’re looking at things like collision avoidance systems, some of those technologies you are starting to see on passenger vehicles are now available for buses," Brubaker said. So depending on the amount of the budget we’ll be looking at some of those options to add to our buses.”
The check represents 60% of the net sponsorship revenue.
Don Young with Crosswalk Marketing says Fort Smith is the third school district in the state that they have partnered with. He says the majority of the sponsorships they sell go back to the district and that was their main priority.
“To make sure the school systems were benefiting financially in their transportation department which is actually part of the law, it states that it goes there and two, we want to be able to bring these messages to the forefront for these school systems and give them a voice in the community,” Young said.
ABB, Arvest Bank, Baptist Health Systems, Centennial Bank, First National Bank, Harry Robinson Buick GMC, Sam's Club and UAFS currently sponsor this project.
Fort Smith Public Schools transportation is planning to reinvest the money to improve safety on buses. The money could be used to purchase additional bus cameras to help with supervision.
District representatives are also looking into the cost of collision avoidance warning systems purchased by other districts who also use this extra revenue stream. According to the law, this money can also be used to provide added driver education and to cover bus maintenance expenses.
The Arkansas law that allows school districts to have these ads was passed in 2015. The law says the ads can only be placed on the rear panels of the bus and can only be 30 to 60 inches long.