Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black Lawmakers Urging Voter to Reject State Lottery

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Black Lawmakers Urging Voter to Reject State Lottery

Article excerpt

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Some Black lawmakers are speaking out against Gov. Don Siegelman's lottery plan on grounds that it excludes many poor students from scholarship grants, a problem the governor's office says can't be solved right away.

"It hurts me to my heart to come out and say this," says Rep. John Rogers (D-- Birmingham), a longtime supporter of a lottery, "but I can't sit back and watch my people get nothing."

The lottery proposal goes before voters Oct. 12. Siegelman says the lottery would raise $150 million a year for college scholarships, pre-kindergarten, and school technology.

What bothers Rogers is that poor students who qualify for federal tuition grants would have the value of those grants deducted from their lottery-funded scholarships. Siegelman has said that to do otherwise initially would bankrupt the program. The governor's spokeswoman adds that a rule change maybe considered later.

"We'll start out like Georgia," says Kristin Carvell, Siegelman's press secretary. "We don't want some kids to get two scholarships, while others get none. But that's something that we'll look at. …

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