SALEM, Ore. -

After 16 years, the Oregon Lottery said Wednesday it has decided to close out its current Scratch-it for Schools program.

“Scratch-it for Schools has accomplished its primary mission of delivering the message that is now clear to Oregonians -- lottery dollars are doing good things for our public schools,” said Lottery Director Larry Niswender.

“We have decided to pursue a new path, find a suitable replacement to this Lottery educational and promotional effort, and close out the current Scratch-it for Schools program," Niswender said, adding, "We thank all schools for their participation and support.”

The Oregon Lottery began hosting its annual Scratch-it for Schools event and offering public schools the chance to be a part of the event in the mid-'90s.

Throughout that time, the lottery’s main message to Oregonians was that Lottery dollars were being allocated to public schools. The Lottery’s most recent research points to the fact that Oregonians now cite “schools and public education” most often, when asked where Lottery funds go.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned over $8 billion for economic development, public education, state parks and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org