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January 21, 2009
Oregon schools receive $20.2 million from state’s Common School Fund
Salem - The Oregon Department of Education distributed $20,183,992.50 in earnings from the Common School Fund (CSF) to Oregon’s 198 K-12 public school districts on January 20.
The payment represents a slight decrease compared to last January’s $27.7 million distribution because of current financial market conditions. The next distribution – also $20.2 million – will occur in July 2009.
“Common School Fund distributions play an important role in every school district’s budget, and help support everything from teaching positions to classroom materials,” said Department of State Lands Director Louise Solliday. “The department’s goal is to significantly build the fund for future generations of Oregon school children through more aggressive management of our lands.”
The Oregon Constitution established the State Land Board as trustee of the fund. The Department of State Lands is the administrative arm of the board.
Twice yearly, a CSF distribution occurs according to a sliding-scale policy based on the annual change in value of the fund. The fund’s balance has fluctuated in recent years from more than $1 billion to its current $756 million.
The State Treasurer, one of three members of the Land Board, and the Oregon Investment Council invest the fund. By law, the state dedicates the funds for “support and maintenance of common schools in each school district.” The population of children ages 4-20 determines each county’s share of the earnings.
"In these challenging financial times, the Common School Fund is an important source of support as schools continue their work toward implementing the new diploma requirements. This reliable funding source helps our efforts to realize a new vision for Oregon graduates – preparation for work, for college and for life,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo.
At statehood, the federal government granted Oregon roughly six percent of the new state’s land to support public schools. The Oregon Constitution dedicated the income from the school lands and their mineral, timber and other resources to the Common School Fund.
The Constitution requires the Land Board to manage lands under its care to obtain the greatest benefit for Oregonians, consistent with the conservation of these resources under sound techniques of land management.
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