FILE- North Carolina Lottery

Charlotte, NC - July 8, 2019: North Carolina Powerball Lottery and Mega Millions estimated display of dollars up for grabs posted at a convenience store.

North Carolina schools received a record-breaking $708 million from the state’s lottery for the 2019 fiscal year. 

The N.C. Education Lottery raised $38 million more than last year – the most it has ever raised for the state’s children and college students.

“The fun of lottery games raises money that supports the dreams of students across our state, from 4-year-olds in our preschools to students at our universities and community colleges,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the Education Lottery. 

Lawmakers established the North Carolina State Lottery Act in 2005 to create the revenue-raising program. About 30 percent of the lotto revenue goes to education. Any leftover funds roll over to the following year. 

The money raised in the 2019 fiscal year came from $2.86 billion in lottery ticket sales. 

Each year, legislators decide how the funds will be used. In 2019, lottery proceeds were used to build and repair schools, provide scholarships, cover the cost for school staff and transportation, and for pre-school for 4-year-olds.

Here’s how the money was spent, according to N.C. Education Lottery officials:

  • $385 million was used to pay the salaries of non-instructional staff such as clerical assistants, custodians and substitutes.
  • $241 million covered school construction and repairs.
  • $78 million went to N.C. Pre-K—a free academic pre-k program for 4-year-olds.
  • $30.4 million was used for scholarships for students to attend a state university or community college.
  • $10.7 million supported the UNC Need-Based Financial aid program that provides grants based on financial need to students attending a state university.
  • $21.3 million went to school systems for transportation such as bus drivers’ salaries and fuel.

Lotto games range from scratch-offs to Powerball tickets and are sold at 7,000 retail locations throughout the state. Sales average at around $8 million a day, about $2 million of that on average per day is set aside for education, N.C. Education Lottery spokesman Robert Denton said.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction could not be immediately reached for comment.

North Carolinians can keep track of how the lotto funds are used and allocated at NCLottery.com and through the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Staff Writer

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.