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Mega Millions jackpot: About $100 million to aid state's schools

March 29, 2012 |  1:22 pm

Mega Millions ticket

California Lottery players who don't strike it rich in the Mega Millions drawing Friday can take solace in the fact they're supporting public education.

State officials say they expect about $100 million from the Mega Millions jackpot alone--which now stands at $540 million--to be funneled into the state’s educational coffers.

The state has sold 283 million tickets for the jackpot that has been rolling over since January, and California Lottery spokesman Elias Dominguez said about 30% of every dollar spent goes toward K-12 and higher education.

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State Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the state Department of Education and other institutions, like the Cal State and UC systems, are projected to receive a total of $1.2 billion in lottery revenues for 2012-13.

Last year, Los Angeles County schools received about $281 million from the state lottery, according to Jacob Roper, a spokesman for the State Controller’s Office.

Dominguez said revenues are allocated on a quarterly basis to county treasuries and from there, they are distributed to local districts. Districts will not see any money from the current Mega Millions jackpot until sometime around June. 

“The whole purpose of the lotto is to provide supplemental funding for education,” Dominguez  said. “So this is huge.”

But Palmer cautioned that the $1.2 billion in state lottery revenue is already figured into the budget, which is projected to fall woefully short of school needs. The spike in lottery sales will give schools a boost, but even profits from the record-setting $540 million jackpot will only make a tiny dent in the budget shortfall.

“Lottery revenues do contribute to the state’s general fund budget, but to put it in perspective, K-12 expenditures are projected to be $39.2 billion,” Palmer said.   

The $100 million windfall from this jackpot will make up less than 1% of that amount. 


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--Matt Stevens


Photo: A Mega Millions lottery ticket is printed Thursday at Bluebird Liquor store in Hawthorne. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images.