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The Lottery and Money for Schools: Where Does It Go?

Updated on February 23, 2019
Mr Archer profile image

I am an American, no demographic subgroup required. I believe in being fair and honest with one another in all things and at all times.

An example of Louisiana advertising for lottery and school funding
An example of Louisiana advertising for lottery and school funding | Source

Inquiring minds want to know

My wife and I are nothing if not blessed (cursed?) with inquiring minds. When we see something, hear something or suspect something we find the means to uncover whatever truth we can to satisfy our minds. At times, we are happy with what we find. At other times, not so much. And at still other times, what we find makes us, well...angry is the word I will choose to relay here.

Time and again we have watched commercials play on television, lottery commercials that advise that a portion of the money spent on various lottery tickets, scratch off, Powerball and such goes back to the schools. These commercials never say what schools, how much or by what means. So, today my wife asked me once more, "I wonder how much really goes to the schools locally?". I, being one who enjoys searching for answers, quickly snatched up my trusty laptop, spun it around my index finger like a gunfighter and instantly arrived at an answer.

However, the answer was not quite what I expected it to be.

School Population to Lottery Money

$ Per Student
Ash Grove
Fair Grove
Walnut Grove
Drury University
Missouri State Univ.
Ozark Tech Comm. Coll.

One thing that jumps out at me

When I looked at these numbers and tried to find a rhyme or reason to who gets what, one thing jumped out at me. Why do the higher education facilities like MSU and OTC get a higher per capita amount that the normal school districts? I thought, from the commercials and advertisements, that the money from the Lottery was going strictly to local schools. After all, colleges and universities are for profit institutions of higher learning and charge people to attend so they have their own money coming in. Additionally, these schools are by choice, meaning they are attended by people who want, who are trying to extend their education while local schools are simply attempting to supply a basic education to all students.

For whatever reason, this really strikes me as wrong. Schools that charge for an education, to me, should not be eligible for money from the lottery; rather, this money should be going to the school districts that struggle to keep teachers, that struggle to find bus drivers, that struggle to attract the best applicants, supply room supplies rather than expect the teachers to purchase items needed for their rooms out of their own pockets. Additionally, local school districts that pay their administration hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece annually for a salary should not be eligible either; this money needs to go to the ones that really need and deserve it: teachers, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, and most importantly: it should be for the children.

The power of the Powerball
The power of the Powerball | Source

Where else doesn't it need to go?

Another place this money should not go is into the sports programs. I can tell you first hand that they already have the pick of the litter when it comes to money and budgets. As a former Director of Transportation for several different school districts I saw for myself how much money is spent on sporting trips alone compared to all other school bus trips. I have seen budget materials and spoke with administrators who related how much money is spent of the athletic programs. Let's just say that High School Athletics alone accounts for far more than all the other events and trips combined. And when you throw in the amount of time lost from school on these trips, it is a wonder the students aren't failing classes.

But I digress. The bottom line is that athletics is well funded and needs no more money for another score board, or a van to drive the golf team to the country club. Nor does it need another Gator to drive the football coach around the football field or more expensive shoes for the basketball team. Maybe the money could be better spent on air conditioning for the early childhood school, or to actually build a new school that doesn't have asbestos in it for insulation.

I am not saying some schools couldn't use a bit more money for their athletics, some small school that struggles to compete for their town's attention that could help bring in other funds but there are an awful lot of districts where sports is the be all, end all in their community and that simply is not healthy for the non-student athletes, the ones who use their brains and not their brawn.

By the way, I have literally heard the words "If we didn't have a football program some of these boys wouldn't even come to school.". Do you see anything wrong with that statement?

What are these funds earmarked for?

On the attached link, you will see a designation where these funds are going to. To be frank, I couldn't make heads or tails out of some of these designations. Things like Classroom Trust, High Need Fund, and DFS/DMH School Placements are as clear as mud to me. Foundation Transportation and Foundation Early Special Education are a bit clearer while Missouri Access and A+ Program I do understand fairly well.

But a few of these fund locations/designations I question. The amount of $149 to Carol J Maples appears to be to an individual for MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) Testing for the continued development, administration and scoring of said testing while the amount of $33,560 to the Lester E. Cox Medical School, which has a total of ten (10) students enrolled for what appears to be medical school at a local hospital seems a bit extreme. Does an individual employed by the state (apparently) and a medical school deserve a pie of the lottery pie?

Ultimately, the Lottery and DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) make up the list of who gets what I suppose. We have no say in the matter beyond how much we spend on scratch off tickets and chances to win the Powerball, Mega Bucks or any of the daily or semi-daily lotteries that abound today. But the feeling I had before when I thought that I was supporting our local school district in a minor manner has fled, and is, as Margaret Mitchell so eloquently stated, Gone With The Wind.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Mr Archer


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