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Friday, October 24, 2008

Odds on Favorite

Harrahs R-V a small district in out-state Missouri undertook an unprecedented project last week to improve school funding.

"We have been cutting programs for years and when Prop A passed we saw it as a golden opportunity," said district superintendent Betty House.

Prop A is an ordinance brought before the voters asking them to repeal loss limits at the states riverboat casinos. Up until the measure passed Missouri residents' losses were capped at $500 every two hours. Removing these loss limits increase the amount of money placed in the states school funding formula.

The elimination of these caps got the officials of Harrahs R-V thinking. Margaret Gamble, as school board member, was at first shocked by House's proposal to use district buses to take local residents to the casinos, but as the reality of the numbers sunk in she was soon on board.

"When I saw how much it would help the students, I couldn't very well vote against it," said Gamble.

"The closest casino is nearly an hour away," complained resident Carlotta Cash, "most of us had to be satisfied with buying lotto and playing Bingo at St. Francis."

Now every Friday and Saturday night a fleet of school buses drive through small surrounding towns and transport residents to the Isle of Capri casino in Booneville.

Recently these trips were temporarily suspended because of rising fuel costs, but as the price per gallon of gasoline in the state has dipped to $2.59 and worry over the current economic crisis has made many people desperate for a jackpot, the roar of the engines and the flashing red lights are again a regular sight on the two lane highways of rural Missouri.

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