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How are CA Lottery Proceeds Spent in Local Schools

4color_HorizontalHow are CA Lottery funds used in public schools? California voters approved Prop 37,the California State Lottery Act, in November 1984.  The premise was to provide much needed funds to school districts throughout the state.  Since its inception, $ 22,450,264,314.36 has been disbursed.  As commercials continue to air promoting how the CA Lottery benefits students, 2 Urban Girls decided to take a closer look at how these funds are allocated and spent.

California Lottery disbursements, to local school districts, are based on average daily attendance (ADA).  ADA is based on the number of children enrolled in their respective school district.  The State Controller’s Office (SCO) will distribute the 2014–15 third quarter lottery apportionment on June 26, 2015. The total apportioned to county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools is $219,639,782.70 or $32.84 ($32.840156283) per unit of average daily attendance (ADA) for the unrestricted lottery apportionment and $93,358,327.44 or $13.96 ($13.958774773) for the Proposition 20 apportionment.

What is the difference between Prop 20 and 37 funding?  How are how those funds spent?

Responses were provided by the School Fiscal Services Division of the California Department of Education.

What percentage of lottery funds are for books v other eligible expenditures?

The latest data is for FY 2013/14. Approximately $184,433,819 or 18 percent of the lottery expenditures in 2013-14 where spent for restricted lottery funds – books. This answers your next question, included in this amount approximately $7,511,426 spent was from the unrestricted lottery funds.

What are restricted funds used for?

Restricted – Prop 20 funds can be used for the purchase of instructional materials only.

Proposition 20 expenditures must be spent on books; therefore the only amount mandated/earmarked for book was $176,922,393. Prop 20 restricts/requires all funds in this category must be spent on books.

Are schools allowed to allocate more for books than what the law requires?

The districts are required to spend the restricted lottery funds on instructional materials. However, the district has discretion on how to use the unrestricted funds. See comment in 1.

Are funds sent separately for restricted/unrestricted amounts?

The amount of funds for the restricted and unrestricted amounts are separately identified.

What are unrestricted funds used for?

Unrestricted lottery funds could be used for any appropriate expenditure of a school district except those specifically prohibited by statue such as acquisition of real property, construction, financing of research or any other noninstructional purpose.)

Proposition 37 funds which are typically know as unrestricted funds can be spent on pretty much anything, with a few exceptions. Of the $76 million on the report, $7,511,426 of these funds were used to purchase book.

When is the next disbursement scheduled?

The State Controller’s Office will disburse the next apportionment on September 30, 2015.

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2 Urban Girls has been cited in City Watch LA, Compton Herald, Daily News, Inglewood Today, Intersections South LA, KCRW, KPCC, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, LA Watts Times, Mercury News and The Atlantic.

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