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PIGEON FORGE MIDDLE SCHOOL PTO ENDORSES CONTINUED SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO BENEFIT SCHOOLS

March 1, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2013

For further information,
Contact: Ken Maples
Forging Ahead
(865) 548-3615

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The Pigeon Forge Middle School Parent Teacher Organization has endorsed the referendum to allow licensed restaurants to continue selling alcoholic beverages in Pigeon Forge.

The group said it took the position because the tax money that is generated will go directly to the three public schools in the city.

“We are God-fearing Christian women who are tired of watching money from liquor sales go to Gatlinburg and Sevierville schools under state law while our schools are missing out,” the group says in an advertisement running in The Mountain Press.

In 2011, for instance, Gatlinburg schools received $453,825 in revenue from the taxes on mixed drinks last year. Sevierville schools received $105,929. Pigeon Forge schools did not receive any tax money from mixed drink sales that year because restaurants in Pigeon Forge were not allowed to sell mixed drinks.

This past November, however, voters approved liquor-by-the-drink sales, and 11 Pigeon Forge eateries were granted liquor licenses. Due to the mistakes at the polls, a judge has ordered a revote on the subject. The outcome of that vote will determine whether Pigeon Forge schools will continue to receive funding from that source.
The ad is signed by Jennifer Adkins, Patti Poole and Jennifer Dyer, all officers in the Parent Teacher Organization.

“We choose to send our kids to school in Pigeon Forge, but we know that they are not getting the same opportunities as schoolchildren in Gatlinburg and Sevierville,” the women state in the ad. “Our schools have not received the benefits of tax money from the sale of alcohol in restaurants that Gatlinburg and Sevierville have for some time now.”

They say that the three public schools in Pigeon Forge will gain an estimated half a million dollars per year from taxes on drink sales if the referendum is approved.

Early voting is going on through March 9 at the Sevier County Election Commission office at 1145 Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville. Early voting polls are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday. A bus will be stationed at the Mellow Mushroom in Pigeon Forge on Saturday morning to give voters rides to the polls.

The leaders of the Pigeon Forge Middle School PTO say that the new tax money for schools will help relieve students and teachers of the pressure to raise funds themselves.

“One week, parents and kids in Pigeon Forge may be knocking on doors selling wrapping paper. The next week, it may be candy. The goal is to raise badly needed money for school supplies, materials and technology,” the ad says. “At the same time we are out selling cookies, Pigeon Forge teachers are paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. We are doing all we can, but it’s not enough to greatly improve the education our children receive.”

The women urge other parents to vote FOR the ballot question. “We want the best for our kids, and we know other parents do also,” the ad says. “If you want the best for Pigeon Forge students, please join us in voting FOR continuing to allow liquor-by-the drink in Pigeon Forge when you cast your ballot in early voting or on Election Day, Thursday, March 14.”