Atkins: Education lottery money doesn’t go very far

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Florida Lottery announced on Monday it has given more than $29 billion for education since 1987.

But those funds do not go as far as one may think. The Florida Lottery says record sales helped bring in more money for schools. The lottery says it’s currently averaging more than  $100 million a month to go towards education, but education officials say their marketing campaign may sending the wrong message to lottery players.

Lee County School District Superintendent Dr. Greg Atkins says what the lottery gives the district makes up very little of their $1 billion budget, despite how the campaign is portrayed.

“In terms of how many days we can operate the school district on it, it’s less than I can count on one hand,” said Dr. Adkins.

Lee County has received more than $640 million in lottery funds since 1987, according to the Florida Lottery’s website. That money is split between a number of places, including the Lee County School District, colleges, scholarships, and school construction. The superintendent says that leaves very little for the classroom.

“People don’t see the other side of that, it’s expense to administer, it’s expensive to pay the prizes and what actually comes back to the district is a small amount,” Adkins said.

The Florida Lottery says the lottery money brings in 6 percent of the state’s total education budget.