Editorial: State lottery suffers the very fate that critics forecast

“We told you so.”

That’s the obvious assessment that critics of North Carolina’s “Education” Lottery can utter these days a decade and a half after its founding.

As today’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com explains, everyone knew the notion that lottery dollars would somehow boost education funding above where it would have been and not be used to fund tax cuts was always a fiction. And now there’s proof that this is exactly what has happened.

In the most recent budget, NO lottery funds were used for additional teaching position, but $385.9 million from the lottery was spent on “non-instructional support personnel.”

…So, at a time when there’s a huge need for additional classroom space and smaller classroom sizes – to help adhere to current pandemic health needs along with providing students with more attention from teachers to make up for in-person classroom time lost – the money is going to basic operations. That is not what lottery advocates intended. That is just what lottery critics – Berger and Moore among them – predicted would happen.

A decade ago, partisan critics called the lottery “Bev’s piggybank” because of proposals during Gov. Bev Perdue’s administration to use lottery funds to shore up battered state revenues during the Great Recession.

Now, of course, everyone involved in the state budget process is participating in this same shell game.

As the editorial goes on to note in conclusion, this situation is especially outrageous when the state is under a court order to comply with the state constitution’s mandate to provide every public school student with a sound basic education.

For nearly 25 years North Carolina has been operating public schools, the highest court in the state has ruled, in an unconstitutional matter failing to meet the promise of providing a quality education to every child.

It is past time to end the lottery shift-shaft. Put the lottery money, as promised, back into enhancing education by cutting class size, providing funding to build more school facilities, expand pre-k education to all children. Stop the corporate tax giveaways and fully fund basic education needs including the Leandro action plan – a common sense roadmap to a quality education for every child.

Click here to read “Ignoring their own warnings about the N.C. lottery.”

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