From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell

School Litigation and Lottery Growth

Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC – On March 26, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee discussed draft legislation that would encourage the N.C. Education Lottery to; add more retailers, new gaming technology, video lottery terminals, and online games.

The bill was drafted as a result of a 2017 Program Evaluation Division report which found that expanding the retailer network and reducing the compensation paid to retailers could increase the revenue generated for education. The bill also directs the Lottery Commission to set targets and implement strategies for optimal retailer growth and to study how its retailer compensation formula compares to other states. Some of the committee members were concerned that not enough of the lottery revenue goes toward education. The Lottery Commission is expected to submit a report to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee by December 1.

The Joint Legislation Program Evaluation Oversight Committee also reviewed a legislative proposal to resolve school district funding disputes. As school districts across the State prepare to submit next year’s funding requests to local county commissioners, the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division recommended passing a law that would prohibit school districts from suing over funding disputes. Under current law, a mediator facilitates the effort between the two boards to resolve the funding dispute at a joint public meeting. If the issue is not resolved, a formal mediation is conducted. If the formal mediation is unsuccessful, the school districts may file civil action. The new law would create a formula which the county commission would use to fund a district when negotiations fail to avoid costly litigation. The default funding mechanism would be based on the district’s student population and inflation and establish a consecutive three-year framework for settling recurring local education funding dispute. Proponents of the new legislation believe the formula is a good alternative, although statistics show that very few disputes ever reach litigation. Between 1997 and 2015, the dispute resolution process was used 40 times, and only four of them went to litigation.

“The lottery fund should primarily be used to ensure that students have the resources they need to succeed. I look forward to continuing the conversation and monitoring the legislative proposals in the upcoming meetings,” said Senator Joyce Waddell.