RALEIGH – The N.C. Education Lottery has made its third transfer of lottery revenues to the state for fiscal year 2012, providing an additional $127 million for education.
The transfer was the largest made in a single quarter in the Education Lottery’s history. Transfers for this fiscal year now total $353.9 million with a final transfer scheduled for June. Since the lottery started on March 30, 2006, it has earned more than $2.35 billion for the state.
Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, attributed the record transfer to higher than expected sales in the third quarter of the year driven by a $640 million Mega Millions jackpot on March 30 and the continued popularity of the lottery’s instant games. The Education Lottery recorded its best quarter of sales ever between Jan. 1 and March 31 with $445 million in sales and set sales records for a single day, a week, and a month as North Carolinians tried their luck with the Mega Millions jackpot.
“The additional education dollars come at a crucial time as the state and counties continue to look for ways to preserve teaching jobs and to build and repair schools,” said Garland. “More than half of the lottery revenues this year will pay teacher salaries in grades K-3 to keep class sizes smaller than they would have been without these dollars.”
The Education Lottery recently revised its projections for the total amount of money that will be transferred this year. The new projection is $450 million, about $25 million more than the original estimate of $424.9 million. Legislators decide how lottery dollars are distributed.
The state budget approved last year designated that any additional lottery dollars earned this year would be allocated to the school construction program that the lottery supports. The percentage of lottery dollars going to school construction had been reduced this year so that more lottery dollars could be spent on teacher salaries to help preserve teaching jobs in a time of reduced tax revenues.
Of the $424.9 million originally expected, 51.9 percent, or $220 million, was designated for teacher salaries in grades K-3; 23.5 percent, $100 million, to counties for school construction or repair projects; 14.8 percent, $63 million, to prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds; 7.2 percent, $30 million, for college scholarships based on financial need; and 2.5 percent, $10.7 million, for the UNC Need-Based Financial Aid program.