Increase in lottery sales will give schools more funds

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Mega Millions players in Missouri bought tickets at such a high rate over the last couple of weeks, local schools will get more money for gas for their school buses.

That’s the bottom line of an announcement from Gov. Jay Nixon’s office. Nixon announced Tuesday morning that he is making $6.7 million available for education programs, including $5 million in funds for local school transportation costs.

The money, which will go to school districts this school year, comes as the result of a spike in ticket buying during the run-up to the record $656 million drawing earlier this month.

In addition to extra money for school transportation, the governor earmarked $200,000 to pay for the Missouri Fine Arts Academy and the Missouri Scholars Academy. They are three-week summer residential programs for juniors and seniors who are gifted either in the arts or various fields of study. The fine arts academy is held on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, the Scholars Academy is held at the University of Missouri’s main campus in Columbia.

Both programs have struggled in recent years due to state budget cutting.