March 26, 1999
Gamblers who are counting on the California Lottery to pay for urgently needed classrooms are in for a big disappointment.
Lottery funds cannot help school districts to reduce overcrowding for two key reasons:
Lottery funds are insufficient to do so.
Lottery funds, by law, may not be used for this purpose.
According to state law (Government Code Section 8880.5), "All funds allocated from the California State Lottery Education Fund shall be used exclusively for the education of pupils and students and no funds shall be spent for acquisition of real property, construction of facilities, financing of research, or any other noninstructional purpose."
The Long Beach Unified School District receives less than 3 percent of its annual budget from lottery funds. Those funds are helpful for instruction, but even if legal would not begin to cover the cost of modernizing 84 schools--plus build 13 new schools.
Most of the money from the sale of lottery tickets goes for prizes and lottery overhead.