'Last Week Tonight' skewers lottery-education connection

Dive Brief:

  • "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver has taken a look at education money associated with state lotteries.  
  • In his segment, Oliver zeros in on North Carolina, which started a lottery 10 years ago with the promise that it would add $500 M a year to education.  In reality, Oliver explains, the state actually spends less on education than it did when it started the initiative.  
  • In 2007 CBS News launched an investigation, finding that of the 24 states with lottery education funds, 21 had either seen decreased or flat spending on education.    

Dive Insight: 

While Oliver focused on North Carolina, the state is not alone with troublesome lottery stats.  In Georgia, 35% of lottery funds are meant to be allocated for education, but that hasn't happened since 1997.  In July, the Georgia Lottery Corp. announced it was transferring $945 million to the state's education fund, which is actually only 23.5% of the lottery's total  $4.02 billion revenue.

A few weeks ago, an audit by the Legislative Audit Council in South Carolina found that the state's Department of Education failed to properly  and legally  divvy up $30 million in lottery funds. The audit found that only 7% of the revenue was being distributed to K-12 education.  

Filed Under: K12
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