Education wins in Powerball

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 20:36:22-05
As the Powerball Jackpot has continued to grow into the billions, Kern County schools anticipate a boost in how much money they will receive from the state.
While the winners stand to make $1.5 billion, the money the schools make barely puts a dent in the yearly budget.
"The lottery only accounts for about 1 to 1.5% of the total budget for schools, so while it is welcome, it is very, very small, so it's really a kind of wait and see what's going to happen tonight type of thing," said Rob Meszaros, spokesman for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
Even though one to one and a half percent seems small, it does translate to a pretty large amount for the county. 
"The projections for 15-16 about $32 million will trickle down to Kern County schools  and it's roughly about $181 a student," said Meszaros.
The money is put into two categories, restricted and unrestricted funds. Restricted must be used for books and instructional materials. Unrestricted can be put towards teacher's salaries. About 77% of the funds are labeled unrestricted. 
The state funding for lottery winnings going to education encompasses more than just this historic Powerball, but that hasn't stopped Kern County from rooting for a huge payout.
"People, as they are playing the game, if they are worried about how much goes to the school district, all they need to know is that we are very grateful for the money that we do get and it's a nice sum that goes towards the kids," said Matt Guinn, the Director of Business Administration for Kern High School District.