How much lottery money did our schools really get? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How much lottery money did our schools really get?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - With all the extra money spent on tickets for the record $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, it would seem California schools would see a windfall. But it's not as much as some would have hoped.

You didn't win that $640 million jackpot a couple weeks ago, but our local schools did. Well, sort of. Jack Brandais says even with the occasional huge jackpot, San Diego Unified only gets about 1 1/2 percent of its budget from lottery funds.

"If people, when they plunk down that dollar think, well I'm giving a little to schools, good for them. I'd rather they take that dollar and give it to the school down the street directly, so we get the entire dollar," Brandais said.

During the past fiscal year, San Diego Unified was the biggest lottery money winner in the county, taking in more than $15 million. Sweetwater Union High was next with over $6 million dollars, followed by Poway Unified, Grossmont Union High and Chula Vista Elementary.

The money is distributed through a state formula that's based on a district's average daily attendance.

Lottery officials say a formula passed by state leaders in 2010 determines how much money goes

"We were created to supplement public education, not fully fund education. And a lot of people mistakenly think we're here to fully fund, we're here to supplement," California Lottery official Russ Lopez said.

The money must be used for instructional purposes, not construction, which is good since schools have been cutting from the classroom over the past five years, and will do it again next year.

"We've got about a $128 million shortfall for next year," Brandais said.

Tuesday night's jackpot is over $76 million. If you happen to win that and don't know what to do with the money, San Diego Unified has a suggestion.

"We have plenty of places where they can donate money for a tax write-off," Brandais said.

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