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Oregon schools receive $20.2 million from state's Common School Fund
For immediate release                                                                      09-18
More information:   Julie Curtis, State Lands – 503-986-5298; julie.curtis@state.or.us 
                             Jake Weigler, Education – 503-947-5650; jake.weigler@state.or.us 
July distribution is one of two semi-annual payments to districts 
Salem - The Oregon Department of Education distributed $20,183,992.50 in earnings from the Common School Fund (CSF) to Oregon's 197 K-12 public school districts on July 14.
The payment represents a 27 percent decrease compared to last July's $27.7 million distribution due to current financial market conditions. The value of the CSF reached over $1 billion in 2007; the fund is now valued at approximately $835 million.
The Oregon Constitution established the State Land Board as trustee of the Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the administrative arm of the board.
"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. "We are committed to growing the fund in order to provide sustained, predictable funding for current and future generations of Oregon schoolchildren."
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 Common School Fund is a vital, reliable source of support for our schools in these difficult times," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo. "With this money, educators across Oregon can continue their work of preparing our children for work, for post-secondary education 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 dedicates the income from those 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 July 2009 distribution from the Common School Fund.