Victor Matheson, North Carolina, Jeff Craig discussed on Morning Edition

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Set record sales proceeds from Powerball tickets to scratch offs contributed $731 million to public education. Translates to more than 10% of the state's funding for school district's, but their seats don't look nearly as good this year. With more strict reopening guidelines, Sales have plummeted and revenue is nosedive nearly $90 million during the pandemic. Victor Matheson teaches economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, where he researches sports in the lottery, So we do know roughly nationwide money from lotteries. Plus other gambling constitutes about 2% of all state budgets in the country as a whole, So that's not huge. On the other hand, it's as much as state's generate from For example, ST Tobacco TAXES it alcohol taxes, 45 states and the District of Columbia run lotteries. More than half of state lotteries funnel a portion of their revenue into education. 14 completely devote their lottery money to public schools and scholarships. In fact, in North Carolina, they even call it the North Carolina education. Lottery officials talked. The more than 10,000 students received free pre K last year, thanks to the Lotto. Schools in that state are now projected to receive about $30 million of less than what they expected from the lottery. The pandemic lottery dip in places like North Carolina and I will know I wouldn't normally be a huge loss for public education. But Matheson says, since it's happening at the same time as the recession, it's a small but irreplaceable amount. The drawing up of lottery funding Is just symbolic of drying up of all sorts of other types of revenue sources that state local governments and schools all depend on. Jeff Craig is superintendent of the West Aurora School District, located west of Chicago. He's feeling a bit of whiplash, he says. Just before the pandemic he was planning to add resource is all those folders are now in a filing cabinet because it's not something we can talk about for years to come. Now. Now, Craig is trying to figure out how to pay for additional cost things like sanitation, protective equipment and ensuring the emotional health of his students. Been trying to calculate all the losses add up quickly. Michelle Yaar is the chief financial officer at Rockford Public schools. Overnight. We went down $20 million which is very significant. With less money from the lottery and a predicted drop off property and corporate taxes. School systems may have to start making tough decisions about cuts very soon. Depends on how long this recession will last. So hopefully this is ah, one year dip, but it is not looking like it. I mean, I would I would expect we're going to have a hard couple of years to three years. Based on what's what's happening. Many school officials are hoping for federal stimulus money to help them bridge the funding gaps. But bridging those gaps will rely in part on people being able to stop by the gas station to buy a lottery ticket for NPR news. I'm Muslim.

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