Are Maryland Schools Cashing In on Casino Revenue?
Updated: Thursday, August 28 2014, 08:20 PM EDT
Many school teachers are watching as gamblers press their luck at the new Horseshoe Casino.
A huge portion of casino proceeds goes to the state's education trust fund. But will your child's classroom reap the rewards?
When lawmakers lobbied voters two years ago for the right to expand gambling they promised education would be the clear winner.
But in TV ads opponents questioned just how many casino dollars would truly go to schools.
Because the funds eventually make it into the state’s general fund they have been difficult to track.
In fact, many communities question whether they've been spent on education projects or something altogether different.
With no mechanism to track the funds FOX45 crunched the numbers ourselves.
What we discovered is in the past five years, Maryland casinos have delivered more than $800million dollars to the education trust fund. But in the same five year period, the total budget at Maryland’s Department of Education grew by just $275million dollars.
Leaving half a billion dollars of uncertain funds.
The rate of growth in the education budget doesn't seem to match the growth in gambling proceeds.
Common Cause is calling for more transparency and a better mechanism to track how the funds are being spent.
Experts say not all casino proceeds which benefit education are included in the education department’s annual budget.