Lottery profits are up, so why isn’t school funding?

News coverage of record profits at the Ohio Lottery has reporters taking great pains to point out that Lottery profits are dedicated to public education in Ohio, according to Ohio’s Constitution.

“Not so fast” says education analyst Greg Mild and IO”s Steve Dyer.

That’s because, while Lottery profits rose, funding to Ohio schools did not. The new lottery money was indeed sent to the schools, but funding from the state’s general fund was reduced by an equivalent amount. So, as Mild notes, instead of restoring some of the recent cuts to schools, the administration instead banked the extra cash in the Rainy Day Fund. It’s the Lottery Shell Game on full display.

Innovation Ohio’s education policy fellow, Steve Dyer, offers his take on the history of what he calls the Lottery Two Step with a new post on his blog. In it, he also notes that the $771 million generated for schools by the Lottery exactly matches how much is diverted annually to charter schools, leaving our public system without any additional state revenue.