Lottery Makes Final Fiscal Year Payout

The North Carolina Education Lottery made its final transfer Tuesday for the first complete fiscal year bringing the total of the Education Lottery Fund since inception to $375.3 million.

Tuesday's transfer of $69.4 million meant just over 313 million dollars for education in the first calendar year. That total is about 107 million dollars less than what was anticipated when the lottery first started.

Lottery officials are pleased with the first year results. "We think this is enormous that in our first 15 months of operations the NCEL has raised over $375 million of new money for North Carolina's students," said Tom Shaheen, NCEL executive director. "We have been hearing stories all across the state about school systems that are using the money for school construction and serving at-risk four year olds."

According to the Department of Public Instruction, the fund has been used for approximately 70 school renovation projects that include fire alarm system installation, security surveillance system upgrades, roof replacements and more. It also has funded an estimated 2,525 class size reduction teacher positions. Over 18,000 four year olds are served by More at Four, the pre-kindergarten program.

The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority estimates it will hand out 30,000 Education Lottery Scholarships for college students for the 2007-2008 year. The scholarships go to students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant and can only be used at North Carolina public and private universities and community colleges.