K-12 will receive slight increase in endowment dollars

Public schools will get a modest increase from state lands endowments next year.

The state Land Board approved endowment payments Tuesday for the 2020-21 budget year, which begins July 1.

Public schools are the largest beneficiary from the endowment, which includes proceeds from timber sales on state lands. And that won’t change next year.

Here’s how the $84.5 million in payments will break down:

  • Public schools: $52.6 million, a 2.6 percent increase.
  • State Hospital South: $6.4 million, a 7 percent increase.
  • “Charitable institutions,” which includes Idaho State University and the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind: $6 million, a 4.1 percent increase.
  • University of Idaho School of Science: $5.4 million, a 9.9 percent increase.
  • Normal schools at ISU and Lewis-Clark State College: $5.3 million, a 7.8 percent increase.
  • The U of I: $4.8 million, a 9.3 percent increase.
  • The state penitentiary: $2.5 million, an 11.3 percent increase.
  • U of I agricultural college: $1.6 million, a 5.8 percent increase.

With no discussion, the Land Board voted unanimously to approve the distribution plan, as proposed by the Idaho Endowment Fund Investment Board.

The public schools’ share of endowment dollars has steadily increased over the past several years. For the current budget year, schools are receiving $51.3 million. Five years ago, the schools’ cut of endowment money came to $31.3 million.

Even so, endowment proceeds make up a relatively small fraction of the state’s overall K-12 budget. By comparison, this year’s overall state K-12 budget comes close to $1.9 billion. On top of that, public schools collect roughly $200 million a year in voter-approved supplemental property tax levies — about four times as much money as they receive from endowment proceeds.

The Land Board is comprised of five statewide elected officials: Gov. Brad Little, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney and Controller Brandon Woolf.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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