Public schools will get a slight bump in funding from state endowment lands in 2019-20.
With little discussion, the state Land Board voted Tuesday to distribute nearly $51.3 million to public schools — an increase of close to $1 million.
As is customary, public schools received the largest share of money from the endowment. K-12’s cut accounts for close to two-thirds of the state’s $80.9 million payments.
The money comes, in part, from proceeds from timber sales from state-owned lands. And timber sales are trending upward; the state had $155 million in presold sales on the books on June 30, a record.
Those robust sales — and strong returns on state investments — provided the Land Board with a little bit more money to distribute to K-12 and other endowment beneficiaries.
All told, the $80.9 million represents a $2.7 million increase in endowment payments — which goes to a variety of entities, including the University of Idaho and the state’s colleges of education.
The colleges of education received one of the biggest increases Tuesday, at least on a percentage basis. They will receive $4.9 million, a $500,000 boost.
While K-12’s endowment proceeds are relatively modest — in the context of a $1.8 billion state budget for schools — the proceeds are increasing.
The Land Board comprises of five statewide elected officials: Gov. Butch Otter, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and Controller Brandon Woolf.
The five Republicans approved the 2019-20 distributions on a unanimous vote.