GREENSBORO, N.C. — The concept sounds enticing -- pay to play the lottery, give yourself a chance to strike it rich and support local schools in the process. That was the premise of the 2006 education lottery, which has been the source of many questions from avid players, parents and educators since then.
Good Morning Show viewer Bill Dubas asked, "Regarding the Education Lottery, it seems school funding is still such an issue. When the lottery was (put) in place, were those dollars added to state funding...? Secondly, how can a citizen see how the education lottery dollars are being distributed?"
- Rep. John Hardister (R-Guilford) - NC House Majority Whip
- Robert Denton - NC Education Lottery Director of Communications
The NC Education Lottery money is a supplement to the General Assembly's fund for education. Rep. Hardister explained the vast majority of education money comes from the General Fund, supplied by state sales and income taxes. Hardister notes the General Assembly decides how to spend the funds. The NC Lottery Commission simply runs the lottery.
The North Carolina budget for this fiscal year is $24 billion. Approximately 57 percent -- $13 billion -- goes to public schools, and $9.6 billion of that goes to K to 12 education. Last year, the NC Education Lottery netted $670 million of that, specifically for K to 12 education. So, yes, the Education Lottery goes to education, but it's not a large chunk of the overall education budget.
Hardister said, "I will also note that 100 percent of the net revenue from the lottery is dedicated to education; it is not siphoned off to other areas of the budget."
How can a citizen see where, specifically, the lottery money is going?
Denton said, "The Lottery understands that North Carolinians want to know how the money is used, and that is one of the most frequent questions we get."
He explained the Lottery keeps citizens up to speed on lottery funds via its social media and digital platforms, including NCLottery.com. Viewers can see a breakdown of various programs and a chart showing a dramatic increase in Education Lottery spending since ticket sales started in 2006. For example, 57 percent of the funding last year supported non-instructional support staff. Approximately 10 percent supported school construction.
Via the website, citizens also can see how much each county receives (click 'choose a county' on the NC map). For example, in the 2018 fiscal year, Guilford County education programs received $33,229,912 in lottery funds.
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