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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

July 26, 2011

Oregon Schools Receive $24.4 million from State’s Common School Fund

Semi-annual payments provide local funds for districts

Salem – Oregon’s 197 K-12 public school districts received the second of two 2011 Common School Fund payments of $24,372,500 on July 20. The State Land Board, composed of the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer, oversees the fund, which was established at statehood to provide funding from state lands for Oregon’s “common” – or public – schools.

In response to the 2011 Legislature’s 2011-13 budget, the Land Board passed a resolution to distribute 5 percent of the three-year average balance in the Common School Fund for the 2011-13 biennium, provided the distributable income account has adequate funds to support the amount.

The adjustment is temporary, said Department of State Lands (DSL) Director Louise Solliday, who noted that the board’s long-range goal is to significantly increase revenue into the Common School Fund through strategic land-management actions, including investments in industrial, commercial and residential lands.

DSL transmits funds each December and June to the Department of Education for distribution to the state’s 197 school districts. “During times of diminished resources, the contributions from the Common School Fund are more critical than ever to preserve services and protect our schools from further cuts,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo. “Oregon teachers are working incredibly hard to provide our students with the services, support and instruction to prepare them for future success, and this funding will help make that possible. Through careful management, the Common School Fund will continue to provide vital education funding to support future generations of Oregon students.”

The Constitution requires the Land Board to manage lands under its care to obtain the greatest benefit for Oregonians, consistent with conservation values and prudent land management techniques.

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, 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.

More information about the Common School Fund is available on the DSL Web site: www.oregonstatelands.us.

*This is a joint release by the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of State Lands. Please contact Julie Curtis, 503-986-5298; julie.curtis@state.or.us with questions for the Department of State Lands.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, Acting Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5650

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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