SALT LAKE CITY – March 8, 2016 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today commended the Utah legislature for passing SJR12, an important amendment to the state’s constitution that if approved by voters at the next general election – will increase and stabilize distributions from the permanent State School Fund through the School LAND Trust program. Most educational endowment funds distribute between 4 and 5 percent annually, which is considered a fair amount to both grow the funds and provide appropriate distributions to current beneficiaries. The rate of distribution from Utah’s permanent State School Fund averaged 2.5 percent over the last ten years. SJR 12 caps distributions at 4 percent.
“The fund has grown to approximately $2 billion in market value and this plan ensures distributions better meet the current needs of Utah’s school children – while continuing to grow the fund for future generations,” said Treasurer Damschen. “I thank the legislature for doing their part in helping us bring more money into Utah schools at no cost to the Utah taxpayer.”
Treasurer Damschen joined bill sponsors Senator Ann Millner, Representative Melvin R. Brown, the Utah State Board of Education, the board of trustees of the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration and the School and Institutional Trust Fund board of trustees in public support of SJR 12 and its companion bill, SB 109. SB109 details the formula that will be used for the distributions.
When Utah became a state, Congress granted lands to support public schools as well as other state institutions. The lands are managed to maximize earnings that are deposited into the permanent State School Fund. School Fund dividends and interest are distributed directly to public schools and spent as directed by local school community councils or charter trust land councils in accordance with each school’s greatest academic need.