The act of Congress admitting Oregon to the Union in 1859 granted nearly 3.4 million acres of the new state’s land "for the use of schools." The State Land Board was established to oversee the “school lands” and has been the trustee of the Common School Fund for more than 150 years.
School lands and their mineral resources, submerged and submersible lands underlying the state´s tidal and navigable waterways, unclaimed property held in trust, and the proceeds from escheated estates all contribute to the corpus of the fund.
The State Treasurer and the Oregon Investment Council invest the Common School Fund. In recent years, fund values have ranged from $600 million to nearly $1.5 billion, depending on market conditions.
The Common School Fund is distributed to Oregon school districts twice a year, with a maximum annual distribution rate of 3.5 percent.
Distributions in recent years have ranged from a low of $13 million in 2004 to a high of $70 million in 2017. In 2020, $54.98 million was distributed to Oregon public schools.