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Oregon schools receive $27.7 million from state's Common School Fund
01/22/2008
 
For immediate release                                                                            08-02
 
More information:         Julie Curtis, DSL – 503-986-5298
                                  Gene Evans, ODE – 503-947-5737
                                                                       
January distribution is one of two semi-annual payments to districts
 
Salem - The Oregon Department of Education distributed nearly $28 million in earnings from the Common School Fund (CSF) to Oregon’s 198 K-12 public school districts on January 18.  
 
The January payment represents a 14 percent increase over the January 2007 distribution, and a 57 percent increase over 2000. The next distribution – also $27.7 million – will occur in July 2008.
 
“This historic fund is important for Oregon’s schools,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski, chair of the State Land Board. “The funds help local districts support everything from teaching positions to classroom materials, helping us advance our goal of providing all children a first-rate education.”
 
The Oregon Constitution established the Land Board as trustee of the fund. The Department of State Lands (DSL) 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 is now over $1 billion.
 
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.
 
“The 2007 Legislature approved a budget and legislation to help the Department of State Lands focus on building the Common School Fund over the next decade and beyond,” said DSL Director Louise Solliday. “Our goal is to double the value of the fund through more aggressive management of our real estate portfolio.”
 
"The Common School Fund plays an essential role in helping our schools get the support they need to create success for each and every student,” said State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo. “With Oregon's new diploma requirements and the increased expectations in math and science, this reliable funding source plays an important role in our efforts to realize a new vision for Oregon graduates – preparation for work, for college and for life."
 
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.
 
EDITORS/REPORTERS:  The attachment shows the January 2008 distribution from the Common School Fund.
 
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