Powerball Fallout Continues

Millionaire on the Loose, Schools Reap Millions

The record-setting $1.58 billion Powerball lottery held in 44 states last month has yet to produce its third millionaire, who holds a winning ticket purchased at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills. But for California schools, including Santa Barbara’s, Powerball ticket sales translate to millions.

Though the Tennessee winners announced themselves within a week of the January 13 drawing, the Florida winners only came forward last week, and California’s Chino Hills winner has yet to go public. While that lucky person is in line to potentially collect $528.8 million, California schools stand to reap about 40 percent of the $386,007,858 spent on Powerball tickets in the state, according to state lottery officials, or more than $154 million.

Lottery spokesperson Mike Bond went on to explain one of the peculiarities of the lottery backstory: The enormous numbers announced as the winning stakes are actually what would accrue after 30 years spent sitting in Treasury bonds. The onetime cash payout — $327.8 million, in Chino Hill’s case — is a true representation of the jackpot’s cash-on-hand. The three winners get half the money brought in nationally, and in California, the remaining 10 percent goes to overhead, advertising, and the $1 million reward to the 7-Eleven that sold the winning ticket.

Even Indy staff got caught up in lottery fever when the jackpot, which had gone un-won since November, hit $450 million on January 6, making jokes about becoming billionaires once we spent our for-sure millions on more lottery tickets. Our result was more like $13 by the time the winning numbers emerged from the January 13 drawing. (Who needs millions when you can enjoy $13 worth of doughnuts?)

But for county schools, the gain is likely to be more than $2.3 million from that Powerball, based on a potential average daily attendance payout of $24.81 per student. (All California Department of Education lottery apportionments are based on average daily attendance.) The more than 14,000 students of Santa Barbara Unified could bring their schools about $348,530 and the 3,726-strong Goleta Union district students about $92,442, based on the state education department’s average daily attendance figures from December 2015.

About 94,803 students attend public schools in the county, with roughly 68,094 in kindergarten-12th grade and 26,709 at community colleges. To put the lottery in perspective, California’s more than 6 million students’ education costs were about $76.6 billion in 2014-15, of which $45 billion came from the state’s General Fund and the rest from federal and other sources.

In the unlikely event the Chino Hills jackpot goes unclaimed, Bond said, all the money would go to schools after other states were paid back for the money they put in to make up the total winning amount. The winner has a year to claim the Powerball jackpot.

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