Local News

Lottery Proceeds Don't Add Up To Much For Some School Systems

Posted December 8, 2005

— Bringing the North Carolina Education Lottery to the state is supposed to raise big money for education. So, why are some education leaders not excited?

"The public must understand that it is only a small percentage of the total amount that's needed for education," said Carolyn McKinney, of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

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  • When the games begin next year, 35 percent of the profit will be divided up among all 100 counties in the state, but it will not be split up equally. The amount each county receives is based on the size of the school districts and the property tax rates in that county.

    Designed to be fair to both developed and rural counties, the higher the tax rate, the more lottery money that is allocated.

    But in a school district such as Wake County, where overwhelming growth is forcing education leaders to ask for as much as $5.6 billon over the next 10 years, the lottery is quickly becoming an afterthought.

    "An implication that's been given to the public is that it's going to solve all our problems, and it's a wrong one," said Wake County Board of Education member Ron Margiotta, who believes the lottery should not be called the "education lottery." "It's going to be miniscule part of our budget."

    The lottery's biggest winner is Mecklenburg County, which tops the money list with more than $18 million. Wake County is getting about half as much with a little more than $9 million, even though it is nearly the same size as Mecklenburg County and has just a 20-cent difference in property tax.

    Durham County is projected to receive about $4.5 million; Cumberland County would receive $7.8 million. A few counties in the state would get less than $100,000. (

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