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Friday, March 13, 2009

Bev Perdue's lottery looting costs county 4 schools

That "North Carolina Education Lottery" that we've had for going on three years now? The one that was supposed to do nothing but supplement, you know, education in North Carolina?

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.

"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.

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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Our state tax refunds are behind some two montsh as well. What exactly does NC do with all of that tax money they collect each year? Add to that we are a tourist state and get all of the tax money from hotel stays and dining out. I just don't get it!!!!

Anonymous said...

It's not very complicated. Lost jobs = less withholding and less sales tax. Or, in the case of most of the people that read this blog, it's a government plot.

Anonymous said...

Perdue-How dare she? As she claims to be a former educator, she should know how desperately the schools need the money.

I might add, I've seen firsthand how great the setup in one county in Georgia is. Projectors and up to date computers in every room. Plus an activ board in most.

Chris Knight said...

Some people (looking at you Anonymous #1 above) have no grasp of how the lottery was supposed to work in North Carolina.

All of the money that it raised was supposed to go to education, particularly new school construction. It was with that held in good faith, that the lottery was finally established in this state.

But now it's not being applied to education. It's being applied to other things.

We might as well strip away the "Education" and call it simply the "North Carolina Lottery". Truth in advertising, aye?

Anonymous said...

Bev Perdue had the willing and enthusiastic support of the North Carolina Association of Educators (the teachers union) in this election. Their support is what gave her the Governor's mansion. If she wants a second term in 2012, the state Democratic Party is going to have to do some serious political arm-twisting on the NCAE. Educators, while their loyalty may be strongly one-party oriented, have very LONG memories.

Ol' You-Know-Who

Anonymous said...

Anonymous No.1 here. I was answering the first post about where the "tax" money went, not where the lottery money went. The economy caused the budget short fall and it would have been hard to predict. As to how to make up the deficit, that's a political move and I happen to agree that Purdue shouldn't divert the lottery proceeds. So don't jump the gun on who has a grasp on what.