California State Lottery Act, Proposition 37 (1984)


People passed the California State Lottery Act in 1984. This act made it possible for California’s residents to contribute additional money to benefit education without raising taxes or imposing new taxes. This was done by turning over 87 percent or more of the lottery’s total annual revenue back to the people by contributing to public education. This is done with the California State Lottery Education Fund, which is part of the State Treasury. Warrants are distributed from this fund and are paid to:

  • Public K-12 school districts
  • Community colleges
  • UC and CSU schools
  • Hastings College of the Law
  • Department of the Youth Authority
  • California Schools for the Deaf
  • California School for the Blind
  • Diagnostic Schools for Neurologically Handicapped Children
  • State Department of Developmental Services
  • State Department of Mental Health

The amount of money given is determined by the average daily attendance (ADA) and full-time enrollment. According to the law, any agency/school district that accepts this money but create an account solely for the lottery education monies. Anything purchased with this money needs to be clearly identifies as being from the lottery education account.

Education funding from the lottery is not an end all solution to the California’s budget issues with education funding. I think its clear that there’s a problem when at the end of every school year, teachers are laid off only to be hired again within a few months. I was told by a teacher that she was once handed her pink slip, laying her off and then given her rehire notice within hours of each other. When Governor Schwarzenegger was in office he claimed the California Lottery was “an underperforming asset and is not run in the most efficient way” (Cosgrove, 2011). This money does provide funding in an equitable manner but doesn’t yield enough money to provide an adequate, consistent amount.


Cosgrove, M. (2011). Chapter 13: More Money to Players, Brighter Future for Schools. McGeorge Law Review, 42(3), 583–619.


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