Thursday, November 08, 2012


      … which Boardmember Galatzan attempts to answer the question asked her – and everyone engaged in California School Finance – most. It’s a question of urban legendary proportion.  I Googled it today and found it asked in a blog about the Chicago Public Schools;

Joyce on waveland concerned about neighborhood

What happened to the lottery money, it was set up to help the schools. I guess that money was diverted somewhere else like everything else

     – which proves that the rumored evildoers stealing lottery money from schoolchildren are part of a national conspiracy!  Or (more likely)  the lobbyists for gaming companies (The California State Lottery is operated by a for-profit outside vendor) that promised that lotteries  would solve the ills of public education are a nationwide phenomenon producing less-than-phenomenal results. [Of course, being paranoid doesn’t mean there’s not a conspiracy!]   That the promoters of Games of Chance - whether we call call them Carneys, Hucksters or Lobbyists; Con-artist or Deputy Director of Corporate Communications - are a little  fast-and-loose with the truth is truly shocking. - smf

by Tamar Galatzan from the Galatzan Gazette |

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 9:44 am  ::  When I am out and about, the one question people always ask is: “What happened to the lottery money?”

They ask because Californians hoped the lottery money would help solve the Golden State’s public education problems.

With billions of dollars of lottery tickets sold annually, why does the Los Angeles Unified School District and the state of California keep asking for more money for schools?

Where does all that money go?

Good question.

Especially since two measures on the November 6 ballot ask voters to approve taxing themselves to raise money for public education.

So on October 2, in the Finance, Audit and Budget Committee which I chair, we invited Russ Lopez, Deputy Director of Corporate Communications for the California Lottery, to come to LAUSD and explain how the lottery system works and where the money goes.

Lopez gave a short history of the California lottery. Founded in 1984, he said, the lottery had one mandate: to supplement public education budgets.

While the lottery contributes millions to education, Lopez said lottery money only accounts for 1.5% of the state’s overall education budget. The lottery hands the money to County Superintendents, who then inform local educational agencies how much they will receive. But the lottery does not track where and how the money is spent.

The Lottery Commission is projecting a 10% increase in sales this year, to a total of $4.8 billion for next year. That would make the lottery’s contribution to education the largest in its history. Lottery funding for the 2012-13 fiscal year is estimated to be $155 per annual ADA.

For Los Angeles Unified, the total contributions for 2011-12—the most recent figures available--were $105,777,545.  Since 1985, the California Lottery has contributed close to $2.5 billion to Los Angeles public schools.

Some school districts give lottery money out to individual schools to spend as they wish. LAUSD uses lottery money to help schools pay for teachers and instructional materials. In the past, the district pulled out the lottery money at individual schools as a line item in school budgets. Now the money goes into helping to pay those costs for schools.

The truth is that education budgets have shrunk so much that the lottery money just goes into the pot to help pay for what is needed—as permitted by law. But that was never its purpose. The lottery was created to supplement education budgets and give teachers a chance to do something extra.

As a School Board Member, I am grateful for every cent that goes into public education. But Lopez reminded us that while lottery money can help us by helping to fill in ever-growing gaps, on its own, it cannot save public education.

And it was never meant to.

To adequately fund public education we must, as a state and a society, decide that investing in education is a priority. On November 6, we have a chance to vote on two Propositions that will affect the future of public education in California. Educate yourself, and cast a vote.

In the meantime, you can keep buying those lottery tickets.


●●smf: OK, I’m back with a little Connect-the-Dots/Do-The-Math  

  • In 1984 Proposition 37 guaranteed that 34% of Lottery revenue would go to schools.
  • In 2009 Proposition 1C – which would have changed the formula by which schools would be paid by the lottery -  was defeated at the polls
  • …but in 2010 the Lottery Act was changed anyhow by the legislators to

  • The California Lottery, which is enjoying a record year generated  $3.43 billion in sales for the last year. 
  • $1.12 billion went to schools in 2011-2012 from the lottery:  32.8%
  • The state cost for the same period (Just the state, not the local, federal or PTA bake sale money) for K-12 + community college public education was $49.95 billion. (47th in the Nation; though after Prop 30 passed we have gone up to: 47th in Nation (because Prop 30 generated no additional funding to schools – it just continued funding at the current abysmal levels.)

I’m sorry Tamar: Don’t buy those lottery tickets!  Buy the cupcakes and bake sale items. 100% of the money  goes to schools and you can eat the cupcakes. Losing scratcher tickets taste bad and have minimal nutritional value.

The lottery predates Proposition 98 – the other Great Fix-It for California Ed Funding. The lottery  money is outside  or above-and-beyond -   Proposition 98’s  guarantee of minimum funding …it should be in addition to the state funding …that was the promise - but if you read the explanation above – or anyone’s explanation for where the lottery money went or how it’s accounted for -  you will see that it goes straight into the general fund; desperately needed, never to be accounted for again.

The answer to where the lottery money went is:  “It’s barely 2% of the budget – and we spent it.”

The California State Lottery Report for the last year reported.

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