Arizona school districts can offer bus and website space for advertising, but it appears few in the East Valley are seeing a big impact from it.

Lawmakers changed statute in the last two years to allow districts to sell the advertising space.

The Chandler Unified School District is looking into it "a little bit," spokesman Terry Locke said. But instead of outside companies' messages on buses to be seen as they make their daily rounds, Locke said the district has used buses to advertise the district's own message.

"If this is a prime location for advertising, why are we surrendering it?" Locke said.

Instead, the district may post information about the number of "A-plus" schools it has, the number of scholarships earned, top graduate numbers and more.

The district has not broached web-based advertising yet.

"It's something we're looking into and we're going to see what response other districts who are ahead of the game ... what type of revenue it generates," Locke said.

One school district testing it is Gilbert Unified. In the spring, the district piloted a program to see how it would work with outside vendors on its website. Two vendors participated: Chandler Healthcare West's Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and an insurance broker.

At this point, the district does not have plans to expand the program but is "seeking our next options," spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said.

The state's biggest school district, Mesa Unified, has written a policy for advertising on buses, but is still getting the program off the ground.

"It will begin slowly and, as businesses see the bus ads, it may increase interest," spokeswoman Kathy Bareiss said.

Mesa has no plans to offer website space to outside advertisers.

For years, schools have found success offering advertising around their football fields or in athletic event programs, the districts say. That is all run at the local level and usually to benefit athletic booster groups.

Besides the logistics to make advertising happen on buses or websites, there's also the perception issue, Locke said. Some make look unfavorably on the ads or be concerned about what message may be seen by students, no matter what the company is.

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