The Idaho Lottery Tuesday announced it returned its largest-ever dividend to the state of Idaho. The Idaho Lottery Commission presented Governor “Butch” Otter with a dividend check for $49,500,000 -- a ten percent increase over last year’s dividend, officials said.
“The Idaho Lottery had its most successful year of operations in history; selling more products, awarding more prizes, and today, returning more dividends to the citizens of Idaho than in any previous year,” said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson.
On behalf of Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, Idaho Department of Education Community Relations Officer Chuck Zimmerly accepted a dividend check from Otter for $30,957,500. Of the amount, $18,562,500 is earmarked for the Department of Education for use by the districts in their public schools -- and the remaining $12,375,000 is for the Department’s Bond Levy Equalization Fund. Since inception, the Idaho Lottery has contributed over $402 million to these accounts in support of Public Education in Idaho.
"With the efforts of the Idaho Lottery, and responsible participation from Idahoans, we are seeing record distributions that will provide additional funding for schools," Superintendent Ybarra said. "We look forward to how this disbursement will positively impact schools, and how it will continue to provide support in the future for schools and students to achieve."
The Lottery ceremony was held on the grounds of Valley View Elementary in west Boise to showcase how Lottery dividend dollars are translated into meaningful projects that improve student safety and scholastic achievement.
“Given the age of some of our schools and the growing cost of maintenance, the Idaho Lottery funds play a critical part in ensuring the safety of our students, staff, and patrons,” said Dr. Don Coberly, Superintendent of the Boise School District. “Thanks to funds from the Idaho Lottery, nearly 450 students, 55 staff members, hundreds of parents and countless community members now have a school entryway that can safely handle the influx of cars, buses, and students who come to this every school day.”
Also joining the ceremony from the Pocatello School District was Brenda Miner, Wilcox Elementary School Principal. Last year, her school built a wall around their computer lab, resulting in improved testing scores for her students.
“Last spring with the help of our district’s Capital Improvement Funds, which are in part money donated from the Idaho Lottery, we were able to ‘wall off’ the computers and make a safe and secure place for testing and other yearlong technology projects,” Miner said. “Our students had the opportunity to take their State ISAT tests in a quiet, private, and secure testing location. There are always many factors that play into the success of student achievement; I believe our above State average scores in grades 3-5 were influenced by the improved testing environment.”
Otter also presented Randy Steed, Vice-Chairman for the Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council, with a dividend check for $18,562,500 million. Since 1989, the Idaho Lottery has returned over $341 million to support Idaho’s permanent buildings.
“Since 1989, the balance of our Permanent Building Fund has been strengthened with annual proceeds from the Idaho Lottery,” Steed said. “With the backlog of maintenance needs identified in our state facilities, lottery moneys have helped us address the most critical requirements such as life-safety improvements, and the conservation needed to extend the life of our physical assets.”
Also, attending the ceremony was Andy Kersten, Dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho. The Lionel Hampton School of Music Building was constructed in 1950. He says that recent facility improvements to the Lionel Hampton School of Music is about providing great facilities to promote great learning.
“The Lionel Hampton School of Music is a nationally accredited program that serves hundreds of students each semester. From our famous Vandal Marching Band to our many choirs and ensembles, students from all areas of the university use the School of Music building,” Kersten stated. “The recent renovation of the Haddock Performance Hall, and now the much-needed roof replacement, have allowed us to provide an updated learning space where University of Idaho students can transform and grow. We are grateful to the Idaho Lottery for their support of Idaho education and the Permanent Building Bund.”
The Idaho Lottery ended its Fiscal Year on June 30, recording $236.1 million in annual sales, awarding $153.8 million in prizes to players, and retailers earning $13.8 million in commissions -– all new Idaho Lottery records.