Local News

Roanoke Rapids School Board Discusses Resolution Supporting N.C. Lottery

Posted February 17, 2004

— North Carolina school leaders near Virginia seem especially passionate about the lottery money that goes north of the border.

They want it spent here on education.

Tuesday night, the Roanoke Rapids school system is expected to become the first in North Carolina to try to make that happen.

Virginia welcomes travelers headed north into Greensville County. Just a few miles up the interstate Tuesday, a convenience Store in Skippers had a line of customers waiting to buy lottery tickets.

The parking lot was full of automobiles bearing North Carolina license plates.

James Slade, from Rocky Mount, N.C., is no stranger here.

"I come once or twice a week (to buy lottery tickets)," Slade said. "Yep, very fun to do."

Some members of the Roanoke Rapids Board of Education support Gov. Mike Easley's theory that North Carolinians spend millions of dollars playing the lottery in other states -- money they say should stay in North Carolina.

With Roanoke Rapids in a county that neighbors Virginia, the city school board will discuss a resolution supporting a lottery in North Carolina.

"I personally feel that these dollars would enhance the Roanoke Rapids school system as well as the other school systems in the state," Roanoke Rapids school board member Emery Doughtie said.

Last year, Virginia pumped $375 million into the state school system. A huge chunk of that money came from ticket buyers from North Carolina.

Rev. Rick Gaskins, pastor at Roanoke Rapids Baptist Church, argued that the lottery is not the answer to budget problems.

"I was in Virginia when they proposed and passed the lottery there," Gaskins said. "It took more than five years before the school system realized any money coming in."

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