Utah State Treasurer Announces Record Earnings For Public Schools

July 12, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah State Treasurer Richard Ellis today announced that the market value of State School and Institutional Trust Fund investments has risen to unprecedented levels, topping $1.6 billion as of June 30, 2013. Growth in the investments comes from proceeds of land resources managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and income from investments managed by the state treasurer.

Annual earnings on the Permanent State School Fund, largest of the trust funds and source for School LAND Trust Program distributions made to all public schools in the state, expanded by 29% to a record $37.8 million, an $8.5 million increase over the previous year’s earnings.

“These strong results reflect favorable movements in the capital markets and the professional and prudent management of the investments by the treasurer and his staff,” said Sterling Jenson, Regional Managing Director at Wells Capital Management and Vice Chair of the Investment Advisory Committee which advises the treasurer’s office on trust fund investments. “These earnings go straight into high-impact priorities established by school community councils at the local level, so consistency and growth are key.”

In an environment of strained budgets at the federal, state, and local levels, trust fund earnings give local schools the ability to maintain critical priorities. “Our school was able to continue support for students accessing scholarships by using School LAND Trust funds to offset budget cuts so we could keep our scholarship coordinator on staff,” said Kay Seamons, member of the Clearfield High School community council. “We’ve also been able to use the funds to maintain some programs that have lost federal grant funding.”

The Investment Advisory Committee, a statutorily-created body of distinguished investment professionals nominated by trust beneficiaries, monitors the funds’ investments and advises the state treasurer on investment strategy and policy.

Permanent State School Fund investments increased in market value by nearly $241 million during the past fiscal year. The increase consisted of $95 million in revenues from SITLA-administered lands and $146 million in market gains on investments managed by the treasurer’s office.

“These earnings are becoming an increasingly important part of how we invest in education in Utah,” said Treasurer Ellis. “We continue to see healthy growth in population and education funding needs in the state. These investments are managed based on a “forever” time horizon, and we are dedicated to maintaining the long-term growth and viability of the fund for the schoolchildren of today and the future.”