School days in Virginia most likely begin in a school improved by the Virginia Lottery.
When the lottery began in 1989, the profits went into the general fund.
That changed in 2000 when voters decided by constitutional law that all lottery profits must go to public schools K-12 education.
The recipient of that windfall has been taxpayers. Local governments have received millions over the years.
The sounds you hear behind the old Windsor Woods Elementary School in Virginia Beach are not coming from inside the old school built in 1962, they are from a $16 million new Windsor Woods. $7 million of that came from the Virginia Lottery.
Since 1999, Virginia Beach has received $98 million to build or renovate 21 elementary schools.
Down the road, there are new renovations at Newtown Road Elementary. Next door, a brand new school — not even named — to be completed by November 2007.
Lottery money paid for a TV studio at Norfolk's new Norview High School, and also for a computer systems class.
And the lottery trickles down in Newport News at the renovated Booker T. Washington Middle School, which received $11 million, paid by the lottery.
The Virginia Lottery contributed to all of Virginia — 454 million dollars to public education in grades K-12. Hampton Roads got 10 percent of that, or $46 million.
Back at Norview High, the old high school didn't teach students how to be reporters.
When a locality gets the lottery money, it usually goes into a building fund with other monies to help pay for improvements.
Virginia's not the only state using lottery money for schools.
In Georgia, the Hope Scholarship Program gives any high school student with a "B" average tuition, mandatory fees, and a book allowance for attendance to any Georgia public institute — free.
Those attending private institutes can receive $3,000 scholarships.
Virginia Lottery contributions to localities
|ISLE OF WIGHT CO.||780,417|
|JAMES CITY CO.||878,593|