Closer look at Va. Lottery numbers that help fund schools

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 06:20:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - We’ve heard a lot about school closings or teacher layoffs because of budget cuts, but a CBS 6 viewer contacted the station and wanted to know why.

He said the state voted years ago to use lottery money to help fund schools. We investigated how much lottery money actually goes to schools, and if school districts would be worse off without it.

That CBS 6 viewer wanted to know why so many schools in the Richmond metro area are feeling the financial pinch when the Virginia Lottery collects so much money. As you may know the Virginia Lottery profits helps boys and girls in K through 12 public schools.

It’s an elementary lesson in addition.

The Virginia Lottery and Virginia’s public schools are linked by law. The Virginia Lottery must spend every cent of its profits on K -12 public education.


Last fiscal year from July 1 to June 30 the Virginia Lottery sales topped $1.6 billion across the Commonwealth. According to the Virginia Lottery, of that $1.6 billion in lottery sales, $487 million funded many educational programs in school systems across Virginia.

We wanted to make sense of how one dollar spent on a lottery ticket is distributed to all parties.

According to lottery officials, 60 cents of that buck is distributed to winners; roughly 30 cents to help pay for education; five and half cents is returned to the store from where you bought the tickets; and four and a half cents helps run the lottery.

The Department of Education does not decide how that money will be spent. That decision rests with the General Assembly and has since fiscal year 2009. The $487 million in lottery profits funded programs like school breakfast, mentoring, early reading intervention and class reduction programs.