Some organizations that represent school district special interests are speaking out about the record amount of money dispersed to schools by the Ohio Lottery.
The lottery is handing over a record $771 million in profits - more than predicted. Nobody is complaining that the state is getting extra money, but members of the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials are jointly reminding people that extra lottery money does not add up to extra money in struggling school districts.
"The appropriation amount, that is, the budged amount in the state budget doesn't automatically change just because the lottery commission managed to have additional revenue," said BASA Director of Governmental Relations Tom Ash. "The budget amount was set in the current budget and that's what it is until next June 30th."
That means the department of education - and, thus, the state's 600+ school districts - is given a budget that's determined by the legislature, which is also the body charged with overseeing virtually all revenue. Unexpectedly high profits benefit the state coffers, but not necessarily budget line items for schools.
Ash says too many people think the extra money negates the need for more local funding.
"Those districts that are asking for money in August or November really do need it and the increase in revenue through the lottery commission will not impact that need," said Ash.
Ash says it's unnecessary to change the way the money is allocated because there's no way to predict during the budgeting process how much money the lottery will produce. He would like to see extra money being given to the schools for specific purposes, such as technology or additional teacher training, rather than just being thrown into a general purpose fund with the state.