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State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson tours schools, speaks about lottery and taxes

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — State Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson visited Bladen County schools Tuesday. Bladen County is one of three counties in the area asking voters to help pay for school improvements in the upcoming election.

In November, Bladen County voters will see a quarter-cent sales tax referendum on the ballot. It’s the second time this year voters have had to decide whether the sales tax passes.

New Hanover and Pender counties have school bonds on their ballots as well. When asked why the North Carolina Lottery doesn’t cover the capital expenses these counties are hoping to pay for with these taxes and bonds, Dr. Atkinson used a Thanksgiving analogy to explain the issue.

“The lottery dollars are really like the cranberry sauce. There’s not enough of that condiment to feed the entire family, and that’s not the main menu. So the lottery funds, by virtue of it’s development, is not set up to provide the necessary funds for all the needs for public education in North Carolina,” Dr. Atkinson said.

Five years ago, the lottery was created with the plan to use 40% of the funds going toward building projects and capital funds. Today, that amount is down to 17%.

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