MEDIA RELEASE: Investigation finds formula change for lottery funds may have cost schools up to $80 million last year

 Investigation finds formula change for lottery funds may have cost schools up to $80 million last year

A new report from NC Policy Watch discusses how North Carolina's Education Lottery is chipping away at the cut of funds actually earmarked for education

RALEIGH (Sep. 24, 2010) – The North Carolina Education Lottery has steadily chipped away at the cut of money that goes to education, an investigation by NC Policy Watch finds.

The chunk of total revenue that educational programs get has dropped to 29 percent, pushing aside a formula etched in state law that calls for 35 cents out of every dollar to benefit North Carolina schoolchildren, says an analysis released today by Policy Watch Investigative Reporter Sarah Ovaska.

“That formula change meant a difference of nearly $80 million last year that might have gone to the college scholarships, early education, school construction and classroom reduction programs that the lottery helps fund,” the report reads.

The steady drop in percentage happened without much fanfare, when a loophole was inserted in state law telling lottery officials to hit their 35-percent mark “to the extent practicable.”

Also largely unknown was a decision made during this summer’s budget negotiation to tap the N.C. Education Lottery for $35 million to help cover an expected gap for Medicaid and other federal social service programs for next year.

This investigation is the first in a series of “Policy Watch Investigates” stories by Ovaska atwww.ncpolicywatch.com. The series will feature in-depth reporting on matters of consequence to North Carolinians.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sarah Ovaska, NC Policy Watch, 919.861.1463 or  sarah@ncpolicywatch.com; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, 503.551.3615 or jeff@ncjustice.org.