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Ask Matt ... how much lottery money county gets

Q. What do our Henderson County schools get from the NC lottery and how is it used?

Each year the state legislature decides how to divvy up the lottery money. In FY 2018, local education programs received $5,471,546. The biggest slice of the pie, $3,348,747, went for non-instructional support (school staff, custodians, and substitute teachers). School construction got $922,332, prekindergarten (at risk four-year-old children) received $547,665, another $386,343 went for financial aid for students, and $266,459 went to school-provided transportation (bus drivers and gas). Only about a quarter of the gross lottery revenue goes to education; the rest covers winners’ prizes, retailer commissions, and overhead. Distribution among counties is based on public school system population except for financial aid and prekindergarten which is governed by statewide need. Each K-12student roughly gets the equivalent of $370 from the lottery.

Tracking a $1½ billion ticket

 

Many of you have heard of the $1.5 billion winner in the South Carolina Education Lottery. Since that person just came forward to claim the prize money we dispatched a crack news team to the site of the drawing – Simpsonville, SC. We drove down winding country roads passing by large homes that only a lottery winner could afford. And there it was, at one corner of a crossroads, the now famous blue-roofed KC Mart No. 7. The convenience store was hidden behind eight gas pumps, two of which were out of order. Hanging in the front window was a large banner – “We sold a Mega Millions Ticket Worth $1.5 BILLION!”
Our fact-finding crew approached a lady standing outside smoking a cigarette. We asked if she knew who won the lottery. “Nope, I only know what I hear in the news,” replied Sabrina. But she did know that the winner was a woman. That was it. Sabrina walked inside, took her position at the grill and started frying a $5.49 Philly cheesesteak for a lunch customer. We continued to talk but still no clues. She thinks the lucky lady who has now claimed the money ($877,784,124 after taxes) does not live in Simpsonville. Sabrina believes the two never met because the ticket was purchased at night. KC Mart’s owner received $50,000 for selling the winning ticket but Sabrina said the grill cooks received nothing. That seemed cold because a “billion dollar ticket winner” banner hung directly over the grill.
After filling our tank with cheap South Carolina gas, we headed home without buying a lottery ticket evoking the “lightning never strikes twice” axiom (this publication notwithstanding). Because South Carolina permits lottery winners to remain anonymous, we may never know the identity of the lucky lady. Lottery officials did share one piece of stunning news. It seems that a simple act of kindness by a fellow customer allowed the lottery winner to step ahead in line and purchase her ticket. How lucky! But if she is reading this, be a sport. Return to the scene and drop a couple of Benjamins in Sabrina’s tip jar. And then treat yourself to a nice Philly cheesesteak.

 

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Send questions to askmattm@gmail.com.