How Is The Lottery Money Spent?
by Alex Saitta
September 24, 2012
Looking at the FY 2011-12 column of the table below, about $31 million of lottery money was given to K-12 education. That's down from the peak of $59.5 million in FY 2006-07.
In total $222 million is allocated to college scholarships and other higher education expenses.
Overall, wagering via the state lottery has leveled out. There isn't any growth there either.
When I worked for the Pickens Sentinel, we interviewed Governor Sanford in 2007. Here was one of my questions...
Alex: We have Life Scholarships and the stated goal was to cut out of pocket costs for students, but it doesn't seem like out of pocket costs are lower because the tuition is significantly higher now.
Alex: So you agree with my premise?
Sanford: Oh yeah. The dollars have been sucked up by the institutions themselves.
Governor Sanford's point is supported by the level of salaries at Clemson University. Go to www.thestate.com and search the state salary database. I counted more than 400 employees making more than $100,000.
This occurs in all government institutions to different degrees. A lion share of the money is spent on the employees themselves, in pay, medical benefits, pensions, additional days off, and improved working conditions. As a result, less money is allocated to the service that is provided to the public.
More and more are asking the question, am I getting what I'm paying for? Also, John Q. Taxpayer sees he is paying to give government employees many things he doesn’t get himself and he is starting to resent that too.
For these reasons, we are seeing less taxpayer support for government efforts, systems and even employees. The point is clear when you look at how the public views public unions. Evidence the public reaction in Wisconsin or to the Chicago teachers strike.
The thing I noticed is how readily the district administration will hand out pay raises for managers. I've seen it in every administration -- Stewart, D'Andrea, Hunt and Pew's -- to different degrees.
Teacher pay raises are determined by a state scale, so the district administration doesn't control them. The district has a scale for support employees, so that has little leeway. However, there is no state scale for managers, nor is there a clear district scale either. During the fiscal crisis, the board/ administration did a lot of internal promoting to management. Those being promoted deserved and received pay raises. When the board/ administration promoted from within and a pay raise was due, the administration would come to the board with a figure. Most of the time I thought their recommendation was excessive and bigger than would have been suggested in the private companies I worked for.
Why the difference? The pay system lacks the checks and balances of the pay system in the private sector.
First, unlike a privately owned business, the district administration is not handing out their own money. Second, the district leadership is working with these managers, so they can avoid a tough conversation by just giving the person a bigger raise. That's easier, when it is not your money or your salary isn't determined by company profit levels. Finally, there is little accountability for results. If management salaries are too high, and the district doesn’t have the money it needs to educate the children the way it should and academic performance drops, no one is fired.
Reform Is Needed:
I don't have an issue with any one person or group of people who work in the public sector. My concern is with the size of the entire public system and how the public sector operates from Washington all the way down to our local towns. It is unaffordable; we don't have the income to support it's current size and the inefficient way it operates. We need reform at all levels of government.