To commemorate the 30thanniversary of the Idaho Lottery, schools chief Sherri Ybarra accepted a record lottery dividend check of $37.5 million on the Statehouse steps Friday morning.
The check represents public schools’ dividend from lottery sales, which totaled $287.9 million this year.
“It’s truly an honor to accept the check for Idaho schools and students,” Ybarra said. “It does benefit schools and students, and as the superintendent of public instruction that’s our No. 1. job, to make sure the students have what they need.”
This year’s education dividend set a record, topping last year’s previous mark of $33.4 million. The increase and record dividend were attributed to an eighth consecutive year of sales increases, Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said.
The dividend check will support school facilities across Idaho. Districts will receive $22.5 million from the State Department of Education’s School Building Fund. The other $15 million is earmarked for the Bond Levy Equalization Fund.
This year’s dividend corresponds to less than 2 percent of the 2019-20 public schools budget, which totals about $1.9 billion.
Overall, lottery officials presented $60 million worth of dividends to Ybarra and Gov. Brad Little. The Permanent Building Fund also received $22.5 million for public buildings and state facilities.
Lottery and government officials held Friday’s ceremony on the Statehouse steps to commemorate the sale of Idaho’s first lottery ticket, to the late potato magnate J.R. Simplot.
Since its founding, the Idaho Lottery has sent out more than $504 million in dividends for public education, state officials said.