Reducing schools' share of lottery profits a bad idea

Published: August 13, 2012

Rollo Redburn's suggestion (Point of View, Aug. 8) that the profit requirement with the lottery be reduced from 35 percent is the wrong way to start reforming the once and continuing bad idea. Since the lottery's inception, Oklahoma's educational rankings haven't improved much. Students at or below proficiency standards have not waivered much percentage-wise. The number of students failing to graduate from high school isn't remarkably improved. And basics, such as classroom sizes and overall access to technology, have increased significantly since 2004.

Redburn fails to note that 500 school districts are vying for that 35 percent. A recent study found that the median income a school earned from the lottery was less than $20,000 a year with a significant number of schools receiving far less and most schools seeing their take from the lottery drop over the years. All of this comes upon the heels of countless national studies which state that in the long term state lotteries don't improve educational standards any more than they sufficiently supplement its funding.

Now there are a lot of things that could be brought up: higher education's take of the lottery pool; school consolidation; administrative salaries and so forth. But reducing what little remains of an excuse to have a lottery at all — its 35 percent payout — is a terrible place to start.

David Hull, Yukon