The Ohio Department of Education hit the jackpot in the past fiscal year, with a record $771 million in lottery profits. By state law, lottery profits are supposed to go to the Lottery Profits Education Fund, which funds schools in Ohio — in theory, a great opportunity to increase education funding. Maybe not.
In a joint statement July 18, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials explained the money doesn’t mean more school funding.
“While it is true that all Ohio Lottery profits are used by the state to fund education, the profit from increased sales was simply used to free up other state funds that had previously been set aside for schools, allowing more money to be transferred into the state’s rainy day fund,” OSBA Executive Director Richard Lewis said in the statement.
Despite the lottery profits, funding for Ohio’s school foundation payment program remains at $7.2 billion — exactly as established by Gov.
John Kasich’s 2011 budget plan. That means no gain for schools, but some gain for the state’s rainy day fund.
Many Ohio schools that are already feeling cuts from the two-year state budget plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Kasich. For the 2012 fiscal year, Kasich’s budget cut funding to the Department of Education down to $10.3 billion, a 4.9 percent reduction from the year before. Another 4.9 percent cut is planned for the 2013 fiscal year, lowering funding to $9.8 billion, which is even lower than the amount of funding the Department of Education received in 2008 and 2009 — before the state received federal stimulus dollars. (German Lopez)