Well, our newly-minted governor Bev Perdue has raided the lottery's reserve fund of $50 million. And then she took another $38 million that was marked for new schools construction, and applied it to the state's budget shortfall.
And now because of her fiscal shenanigans, Rockingham County won't be getting those four new schools that it direly needs.
I have spoken to quite a few people in this county over the past few days who are, to put it mildly, extremely honked-off that this has happened.
The members of the Board of Education aren't taking this quietly either. According to the above-linked article Tim Scales has remarked "You don't want to know what I've got to say about it." Reida Drum and Steve Smith have likewise expressed frustration...
Upset about Perdue keeping lottery funds, board member Reida Drum said she could not believe the governor actually ran on the platform of supporting education.I sincerely regret having to say this, but I fear the months and years to come will bear it out to be accurate: there stands to be no foreseeable significant improvement of North Carolina's educational infrastructure. Partly it's because of the economic mess this state is in right now along with the rest of the country. And partly it's because North Carolina has followed the same track as most other states that began their lotteries on the good faith that the money would be applied to education. I can think of only one state off the top of my head - that being Georgia - which has for the most part wisely administered its lottery proceeds. All of the rest have ultimately used money from the lottery for other purposes than improving education.
"If I saw her surrounded by teachers one time in her campaign ads, I saw it 600 times," Drum said. "I think we should send word to her that we thought she was supposed to be an education governor."
Board member Steve Smith agreed.
"If we don't do something, we're just saying it's OK," Smith said.
The board voted 7-4 to send a letter to Perdue, state legislators and the North Carolina School Board Association expressing their disagreement with the decision to keep funds intended for the benefit of the state's school systems.
We might as well have never had the lottery to begin with. And I say that as one who has gone on the record numerous times over the years as being in support of the lottery.