Lottery money going into education won’t immediately solve budget issues (KTUL)

By Tyler Butler

Lots of Powerball tickets walked out the door of Quiktrip on Wednesday in Brookside. Of course, the question we’re asking is the same one running through everyone’s minds: What would you do with your winnings?

“First thing I’d probably do is retire, sell my practice, and you know, I think I’d start traveling the world,” said Michael Howl.

With 35 percent of all these ticket sales going to education, you’d think school administrators and teachers would be ready to do the happy dance too, especially with recent budget cuts. But that 35 percent doesn’t just show up at once, according to Dr. Steve Waldvogel, superintendent of Mannford Public Schools.

“The bigger the pot is, potentially we’ll receive more money from the lottery. But there has not been a lottery check coming into our school saying, ‘Hey, congratulations, you’re receiving this amount of money from this many people that bought lottery tickets,'” Waldvogel said. “It goes into a big pot, and maybe something will come next year.”

The schools are given a set amount of money per student each year, and it isn’t broken down into how much of that is lottery money. They don’t expect it to close the immediate budget issues, but they say anything helps.

“That does help us, and we do appreciate that, and we want people do buy as many tickets as they think they need to, but we just don’t know what that impact is,” Waldvogel said.

According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the lottery brings in $70 million per year that goes into the education fund. That falls short of the $300 million that then-Governor Brad Henry said it would bring in when the fund was created.

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