OKLAHOMA CITY (February 20, 2017) - The House of Representatives has passed a bill endorsed by education leaders that increases the Oklahoma Lottery’s contribution to education by $110 million over the next five years.
House Bill 1837, by House Appropriations Chairwoman Leslie Osborn and Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Kim David, passed the House on Tuesday and now moves to the Senate.
"A $110 million increase to education in a tough budget year without a tax increase is no small feat, and it is one of many steps necessary to meeting our commitment to education," said Osborn, R-Mustang.
The bill was endorsed Monday by the Oklahoma Education Coalition, which consists of:
• Oklahoma City Public Schools
• Tulsa Public Schools
• United Suburban Schools Association
• Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools
• Oklahoma State School Boards Association
• Cooperative Council of Oklahoma School Administration
• Oklahoma Education Association
• Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association
• Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education
• Oklahoma Parents and Teachers Association
HB 1837 is modeled after successful lottery changes in other states. It sends more lottery revenue to education by letting the lottery increase payouts to offer more prizes that improve lottery sales and ultimately send more money to public schools.
"This is a proven method other states have used to get more lottery funds to education, and we are proud of the House for supporting education with this bill," said Oklahoma State School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Hime. "Oklahoma education funding has a long way to go to reach acceptable levels, and we’re glad legislators are looking at all available options, including this one."
The Oklahoma Lottery has sent more than $750 million to education since it began in 2005, but its performance has declined because of an ineffective profit requirement that would be replaced under HB 1837. Lottery contributions to education next year are expected to be 30 percent lower than ten years ago. If HB 1837 is not passed, the Oklahoma Lottery projects declines will continue and education will lose a combined $25 million in lottery funding over the next five years.
To prevent that decline, HB 1837 makes the lottery more profitable and increases common education’s lottery funding through three steps:
1. Guarantee at least $50 million in lottery revenue for education every year.
2. Send profits above $50 million to specific K-12 public school initiatives.
3. Improve sales and lottery revenue to education by ending the counterproductive mandate that 35 percent of profits go to education.
Under HB 1837, initiatives in reading and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) would receive $85 million over the next five years.
In total, HB 1837 sends a $110 million boost to education by preventing the $25 million decline that is expected without the bill and sending the projected $85 million to reading and STEM programs.