Florida education system to see nearly $300 million drop in funding through state lottery

by | Aug 4, 2023

  • Florida’s education system is facing a $270 million funding decrease from the state lottery this fiscal year.
  • The combined revenue from the Florida Lottery and other sources for this year is predicted to be $3.12 billion, down from $3.39 billion the previous year.
  • The decrease is attributed to lower-than-expected sales and uncommonly high jackpot totals, which resulted in lower revenue earnings.

Florida’s education system is bracing for a significant decrease in funding from the state lottery, as officials predict a $270 million drop this fiscal year.

The Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research forecasted on Thursday that the combined revenue from the Florida Lottery and other sources, such as slot machines, will amount to $3.12 billion — a figure that includes $560 million carried over from the previous fiscal year. Comparatively, the previous fiscal year saw $3.39 billion, with $759.5 million derived from surplus funds of the previous year.

Florida’s Lottery system contributes 24.6 percent of all generated revenue to the state’s education fund. The state legislature, with input from the Florida Department of Education, then determines how funds will be allocated before being distributed to public school systems.

State economists reported that scratch-off ticket sales were recorded at $190.8 million below forecast due to a steady downward decrease in weekly sales compared to the prior fiscal year, affecting the overhead collected revenue.

Moreover, typically uncommon jackpot totals of more than $1 billion have eschewed past forecast models that projected increased margins, culminating in lower-than-anticipated revenue earnings at the end of the fiscal year.

“None of these forecasts assume a billion [dollar] jackpot,” said Holger Ciupalo from the Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis. “That’s when the numbers really get out of control.”

In the fiscal year 2023-24, K-12 schools are projected to receive $1.2 billion through the lottery, while the state university system is expected to get $699.6 million, according to economists.

The Florida community college system is estimated to receive $273.8 million and workforce education is allocated $148.3 million. Bright Future is projected to receive around $590.7 million. In total, the Florida Lottery reports that more than $7.48 billion has been used to fund the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

Florida’s five largest public school districts –Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Orange, and Palm Beach counties — collectively received more than $341 million dollars last year from Lottery subsidies.

Since the Lottery’s inception, Florida’s public schools received more than $23 billion from the entity, while colleges and universities have received a combined total of more than $11 billion.

1 Comment

  1. Bruce S

    Surprised that you neglected to mention that the FL GOP Legislature this year authorized a tidy increase in the commission for retailers selling lottery tickets. That is sure to have further negative impact on education funding.

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