08/23/07 — Lottery promise: What’s next for funds — and education support?

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Lottery promise: What’s next for funds — and education support?

This weekend, there will be millions on the line, and North Carolinians as well as those in other Powerball states will have their chance to play to win — big.

But as the jackpot hits another big number, the question arises: When will North Carolina schools and students start winning big from the proceeds of the North Carolina Education Lottery?

It has been a while since the promises and hype that accompanied the lottery debut. And while the idea is still a good one — there seem to be only periodic bursts of information about just how much money is going to go to students and schools.

The Education Lottery has been criticized on multiple fronts. Some are concerned about the message it sends about gambling, while others are wondering why a state would want to take money away from those who can least afford it to fund an education program for all state residents.

And then there is the concern about just when the schools will get their money and how much — as well as how best to use the proceeds from the program.

The reality is that like any state-run enterprise, there have been glitches in the implementation of the promise of the lottery millions.

The actual plan for using the money and a measure of the effectiveness of the lottery money on the quality of education in North Carolina are still to be determined.

But the evidence is clear from other states that have created strong education lottery programs that there are benefits to such a plan. Just look at how many children are receiving funds for college in some of those states — Georgia is a primary example.

North Carolina should stick to the lottery plan — for now. There is too much potential there to abandon the idea just yet. For now, all we need are numbers.

Published in Editorials on August 23, 2007 11:44 AM