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Bill Passed in House Puts School Aid in Play

Posted July 11, 2007

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— The state House on Wednesday passed a bill to rearrange how state lottery money is divided up among school districts.

Dividing up school aid is always a sticky issue. If the bill that passed tonight becomes law, Wake County could come out a winner and get more money while other systems such as Durham County may end up with less.

The bill would not change how 65 percent of the lottery income is divided among all districts. At issue is who will get how much of the other 35 percent.

Wake County is one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state, but its advocates feel Wake and counties like it are being shortchanged.

“Out of the 115 school systems in the state, 58 of them aren't getting any part of the 35 percent, and that's unfair,” argues Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe.

Currently, the 35 percent goes to counties with higher property tax rates, a policy that leaves Wake high and dry. In the proposed system, the money would be split in half, with 17.5 percent going to low-wealth school systems and 17.5 percent going to school systems with high enrollment.

Under the new formula in the bill, Wake County schools would get an additional $5.5 million a year on top of its current $8 million.

“Every little bit helps, and we're not going to turn it away,” said the Wake system’s spokesman, Michael Evans.

Wake voters last year approved a $970 million bond issue for schools. Over the next 15 years, the school system expects to add 200,000 more students and to need 70 new schools.

A bigger portion of the lottery money “could go to renovations. It could go to debt service. There's a lot of different ways the school system could use the money,” Evans said.

Durham's on the other side of the equation.

The new formula would cut $1.5 million out of its school construction budget.

“It's money we're counting on, money we've budgeted, and we'll be in hot water if the formula gets changed,” County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said.


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  • OALA Jul 12, 2007

    Poohperson- that is what happens to me as well. We go out of our way to help our teachers... and I get notes all the time asking for more. I am just tired of having to supply for everyone elses' children as well as my own. We are asked to provide copy paper, we sent in a case of it... by the middle of the year, we were asked for more! Same goes with tissues and hand sanitizer! That is just more than I can afford!

  • poohperson Jul 12, 2007

    I agree ocean. I always supply the extra items that are requested, and sometimes I feel like the teachers target me because they send home a handwritten note to me, rather than a typed note to the entire class. Would it not be great for the teachers to be able to buy some supplies with lotto money? The way I see is, I am sure that not all parents send in all the required supplies. I am sure that I am subsuduizing those who can not afford, which is fine, but it would be nice to see it come out of lotto money.

  • oceanchild71 Jul 12, 2007

    When I taught, we were told that the supplies that we ordered from the stock room were not to be used by the students. For example, if you ordered pencils and you were giving a scan-tron test and a student did not bring a pencil, you were not supposed to let the student use the pencil. My method was to always have the student give up something in the way of collateral such as their cell phone or house keys or wallet or watch, something that the student would obviously miss in order to borrow a pencil or calculator. Some students even gave me shoes (though I told them to bring them up to the front of the room).

    I think that for teachers at all levels, if you want your room to look good, you're going to have to pay for it out of pocket. Some schools even dole out copy paper to the teachers and tell them that's it. Others give teachers codes and keep track through the machine as to how many copies you are making. It's crazy!

  • poohperson Jul 12, 2007


    You are right about the admistative level, so we as voters need to lobby to pass a law that this money makes it to evey school and every classroom instead of on silly things. Teachers would not object because perhaps it would save them some money. Think if the allocation was just $5 per child. For a class of 25. that is $125.00. This would be a nice chuck of change that teachers could spend to buy necessaties, books, etc..

  • Nancy Jul 12, 2007

    It is true that teachers spend out of pocket every year to supplement their classroom supplies, as well as providing items that are needed such as kleenex etc. Teachers do send home lists of items they would like see "donated" to the classroom but rarely get what they need.

    This is true not only in NC but many other states as well.

    The thousands spent annually per child in public school systems in not actual dollars spent specifically at the school, classroom level.

    Costs keep rising but the bulk of the increase in spending seems to be at the administrative level, not the school level. That is the case in Wake County. While they had to 'make up' the lack of monies by cutting teacher pay increases and staff salary increases, they managed to add 12% to their budget on the administrative level.

  • poohperson Jul 12, 2007

    I am not a teacher, but let me tell you in elementary schools teachers end up purchase the materials to decorate the classrooms so they look inviting and not like prisons. They run out of supplies such as copy paper, dry erase markers, ziploc bags, anitbacterial wipes, and kleenex. Allot of them will send notes home asking the parents if they can help out, but if no one does, they purchase it on their own. Many elementary teachers also purchase books to have for reading time in the classroom. You are sorely underestimating what is actually supplied for them, and how far your purchases of school supplies go.

  • OALA Jul 12, 2007

    poohperson- I don't know what school you teach at, but I had to purchase over $150 per child in school supplies, at 25 kids in the class...that's $3750.00 (atleast) per classroom that teachers aren't spending. How much more do they need?

  • qtiki Jul 12, 2007

    Most of your comments are right on target. It was voted in as the Education Lottery to benefit all schools. If this bill passes in the Senate, why don't we all make a list to remember who voted for it in both the House and the Senate. Remember, elections will be coming up.

  • oceanchild71 Jul 11, 2007

    "It's money we're counting on, money we've budgeted, and we'll be in hot water if the formula gets changed,”
    Am I the only one that heard all the lawmakers stating that the lottery money would NOT be part of the budgeting process? Outlaw Subdivision 4-wheelers
    No, Outlaw Subdivision 4-wheelers, they said it loud and clear. Oops! Somebody got caught with their pants down.

    The state did say that it would not count on money from the lottery for the budgeting process at the state level. However, local counties can "estimate" their shares and figure out how they are going to spend it. You're talking apples and oranges here, folks.

  • cjump Jul 11, 2007

    With the exception of the winners take and 5% for running the operation, the rest should go to all the schools.

    If the idiots at the lottery can't run it at 5% of the take, get better idiots.