SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Treasurer David Damschen recently announced that the Permanent State School Fund will make the largest-ever distribution to Utah schools next year. The funds go to schools for programs chosen by parents, teachers and principals at no cost to taxpayers
Schools are slated to receive a record $88.83 million from the Permanent State School Fund in July 2020 – a 7.5 percent increase from this year’s distribution of $82.66 million and a 20 percent increase from last year’s distribution of $74 million.
Under the School Land Trust Program, investment earnings from the Permanent State School Fund are distributed to every school in the state based on a per pupil formula.
Each school’s community council, comprised of parents, teachers and the principal, annually determines the greatest academic needs of their students and prepares plans to improve student academic performance with their portion of distributions from the fund.
“I applaud the outstanding work of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) in administering trust lands and the solid investment decisions of the School and Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO), which maximize the impact of the Permanent State School Fund,” said Treasurer Damschen.
“Their efforts, along with the work of the recently-formed Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office, benefit Utah’s education programs now and for years to come,” he said. “Every dollar we earn through prudent administration of the land and investment assets is a dollar in school funding not paid by the Utah taxpayer.”
Since SITLAs formation in 1994, the agency has generated nearly $1.96 billion in proceeds to help grow the Permanent School Fund and other perpetual endowments.
“At SITLA, we strive to administer trust lands as effectively as possible for Utah’s schoolchildren, generating revenue from energy, real estate and surface development on the 3.3 million acres of school trust lands,” SITLA Director David Ure said.
“The best part of my job is visiting schools and seeing the positive ways schools use their distributions to create better educational experiences for students.”
Legislation enacted in 2014 created SITFO as an independent state agency tasked with the investment of these funds. SITFO is overseen by a five-member Board of Trustees comprised of investment professionals and chaired by the state treasurer.
“The SITFO team is proud to be a part of the larger effort to generate wealth for Utah’s schools,” SITFO Director and Chief Investment Officer Peter Madsen said. “It is rewarding to see our diversification efforts take shape and even more rewarding to help make an impact in Utah classrooms.”