Ask WECT: Where is all the Education Lottery money?

Posted by Scott Saxton - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With so many Boards of Education struggling with budgetary matters these days, one of the most frequently asked questions from our viewers is about the North Carolina Education Lottery.

Anthony M. represents many viewers who have emailed us, with his question:

"If proceeds for the NC EDUCATION LOTTERY are supposed to (be) used toward education, then why are students still failing, schools in such bad shape, and teacher's being laid off?"

Anthony sent the question in for our "ASK WECT" segment we do regularly on WECT News at 5:30.  We got Anthony an answer.

Of the entire pot of lottery money, half goes to the prize payouts.

15% goes to Administration and Retailers for the operations/profits of the game.  The rest — 35% — goes to educational programs.

The problem is that the money that education departments receive has to be spent in a certain way.

50% – Programs to reduce class size in early grades and pre-K programs for at-risk students.

40% – School construction projects.

10% – Scholarships for students who qualify for Pell grants.

So, each county gets a cut, but the cut has to go in certain categories.  They are falling short in other categories when it comes to budget and are not able to move that money around.

Normally, we publish the "Ask WECT" responses in our blog.  With so much interest to this particular question, we posted it in our news section as well.  Feel free to ask us a question by emailing us at

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