HolyCoast: Lottery Madness - Is It Really Helping the Schools?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lottery Madness - Is It Really Helping the Schools?

From the OC Register:
California's public schools, community colleges and universities will receive at least $100 million from the lotto jackpot that has reached $540 million, according to early estimates from state officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 283 million tickets had been sold in California for the jackpot that has rolled over since January, said officials from the California Lottery. About 32 cents from every dollar spent in California on the lottery goes to education.
Not so fast. Yes, the law that created the lottery required a certain percentage of sales to go to schools. But what it didn't do is require the state legislature to add lottery funds to existing budget amounts. What has happened in reality is once the lottery money started rolling in, the legislature felt secure in reducing the money they had been sending to schools knowing the lottery would make up the difference. That money then went to other general spending.

Consequently, we sell millions of lottery tickets every year but the school aren't exactly using gold-plated crayons and drinking Perrier from their water fountains. The whole thing has been a bit of a shell game.

Orange County Superintendent William Habermehl:
"The lottery has never really provided as much money to schools as what was sold to the public when it was implemented. If you look at all 6 million students in California, an extra $100 million will only give you a few extra dollars per student."

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