Caution on Plan to Fund Education with Illinois Lottery

May 24, 2006

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich plans to lease or sell the state lottery to boost school funding, but a member of a state board says it might not improve schools.

The Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board recommends the state contribute at least $6,400 per year, per pupil student. The state actually spends $1,000 less. The governor's proposal would collect between $3 billion and $10 billion in new money over the next decade.

Advisory Board member Arthur Berman says comprehensive education reform requires more.

"And for that we're talking about somewhere about a billion and a half to two billion dollars a year. And unless the proposals can generate that kind of money, it's not going to work," he said.

Not all Governor Blagojevich's proposal is dedicated toward boosting the state's minimum contribution. If passed, some funds could be for textbooks, computers and new schools.