In the 19 years since Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing a Lottery to to benefit education, more than $17 billion dollars has been contributed to Florida's educational system.
Governor Charlie Crist applauded the milestone and noted that in fiscal year 2005-06, with record lottery sales reaching $3.93 billion, the Lottery was able to contribute $1.22 billion to public education, making 2006 the fourth consecutive year with transfers of more than $1 billion to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.
The annual contributions help with such things as school construction and expansion, student mentoring and the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.Through this support, more than 600 public school construction projects have been funded and more than 300,000 Bright Futures Scholarships have been awarded.
"The Florida Lottery has once again had a banner year, generating additional funds for Florida's public education," Crist said. "With the money the Florida Lottery continues to contribute, we will be closer to reducing class sizes in public schools and increasing funding for state universities and community colleges"
In addition, Lottery funds — through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program — will also help provide thousands of high school seniors the means to further their education, Crist said.
On March 25, Floridians can see the details of the Lottery's contributions by reading the insert in their local newspapers. The report will include details about how the lottery funding is distributed among Florida's 67 county school districts.
"We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, yet we are more committed than ever to continuing our mission of maximizing profits for the enhancement of education in Florida," said Florida Lottery Secretary Leo DiBenigno. "To do this, it is important that we recognize and thank those helping us achieve the goals set forth by the Florida Legislature: the Lottery's millions of players, as well as our 13,000 retailers, business partners and dedicated employees."
Over the next two weeks, the Florida Lottery's 213 billboards will reflect the new $17 billion milestone.