Proceeds from the Ohio Lottery go to the state budget, not direct school payments.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Lottery Profits Education Fund, which helps support K-12 education, has a balance of more than $207 million. The Lottery Profits Education Reserve currently has more than $174 million, according to the Ohio Office of Budget Management.
This money supports the state education budget for approximately 900 schools and 1.7 million students in Ohio.
But critics of the lottery system say the state could contribute more to lottery profits, but instead uses the extra lottery profits for the state budget.
“The state adds lottery money to the education budget lines and then uses other funds that it had previously set aside for education on other things, so the money of the lottery simply replaces the money it was already going to use rather than being used as additional funds to support schools,” said Tanisha Pruitt of Ohio Policy Matters.
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education said the General Assembly committed $1.34 billion to the state’s education budget through the lottery this year.
A windfall in lottery profits from Mega Millions and Powerball is not immediately distributed to schools. The General Assembly uses the lottery revenue estimates to allocate funds through the budget. If the lottery profits are higher than expected, it simply gives the General Assembly more funds to allocate in future budgets,” said ODE’s Lacey Snoke.
While lottery profits are not sent directly to individual school districts, casino and racino profits are sent to schools.
“We don’t receive direct funding from the Ohio Lottery Commission, so if there’s a big Powerball jackpot and a lot of people are playing, we’re not going to get any immediate additional funding from that,” said Mad River Treasurer Jerry Ellender. local school district.
That’s why he thinks the state needs to change profit sharing so schools can receive direct payments and taxpayers can see how much each district receives in lottery profits.
“I think the average taxpayer in Ohio would have a lot more confidence if they could see that the lottery profits were being distributed directly to their school district so they could see how much it benefits as a taxpayer,” Ellender said.
For local Mad River schools, he receives direct profits from casinos and racinos that total approximately $200,000 per year.
This money is spent on computers for students.
“In our district, we spend that money on technology purchases for students, so we have 1-to-1 student laptops,” Ellender said.
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