Ads on HISD Buses

HISD students will soon be able to practice their reading skills when they board a school bus. The district will allow the sale of advertising space on the sides of its yellow buses. Officials hope the ads will help offset the budget deficit. Pat Hernandez has more.

Christen Pollock
Christen Pollock, vice president of the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center

The HISD introduced a new college awareness campaign to promote the value of higher education.  Christen Pollock is VP of the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. She says the district is the first in the country to partner with the College Board on the campaign called “Five Ways Ed Pays.”


“We know that education, higher education has the potential to transform lives in many ways, in greater health, greater wealth, more security, stronger families, stronger communities. And so, this awareness campaign is really about the benefits of education not only for individuals, but for society.”

The educational effort is also the first ad campaign to appear on HISD buses. District Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier says they represent a sign of the economic times, when you lose 160-million dollars this year in state revenue, and another 40-50 million dollars next year.

“We have to look at how we increase revenue, and you can do that through bus advertisement of course. You also can do it, improve revenue by increased student attendance, decreasing the dropout rate where you have more kids stay in school that will help our bottom line, because that generates more revenue. So, we’re gonna have to look at a variety of different ways to handle that gap.”

State law mandates where and what size the ads can be on school buses, and HISD has policies regarding what types of businesses and organizations can advertise on them. The first ads are relatively small, and placed toward the end of the bus. Prices begin at $175-dollars a month per bus. That cost is split between the district and the ad agency.