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June 12, 2012

Pennsylvania gets creative in school funding.

           In an effort to recover from the budget cuts in education, local school districts are preparing to take a page from the WVU playbook and begin selling beer at football games.  While controversial the plan is gaining traction with local politicians, educators, football boosters and parents.  Several districts in Western Pennsylvania have already contacted the State Liquor Control Board about the application process.

            The revenue generated for districts over the course of a season is estimated to be approximately six figures. That coupled with the advertising in the football programs, naming rights of fields and other advertising opportunities for distributors and State Stores could prevent property tax increases.  There is also some thought being given to selling wine and other alcohol products that would be more appealing to female fans.

            As an olive branch to local distributors, tailgating would be permitted beginning three hours prior to kick-off, and beer purchased by the school must bought from a distributor located within three miles of the high school football field.  Hard liquor and tobacco products would still be banned from school grounds so as not to send the wrong signals to the student body.  Also public service announcements warning of the dangers of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes would be read during the first and fourth quarters of the game.  All beer sales would end at the six minute mark of the fourth quarter.

            If successful, the beer sales could extend to other sports such as soccer, basketball and baseball where there is a tradition of drinking at the professional level.  Governor Corbett was unavailable for comment, but a spokesperson said that the Governor was intrigued with the plan and may consider scrapping a proposed seat licensing fee for high school sports.