Utah schools will be getting a little extra boost from the School LAND Trust Program. The state treasurer announced Friday that school trust fund investments received record earnings, pushing the total value over 1.6 billion dollars at the end of the state’s fiscal year in June.
The amount of money available for schools to spend this year is a record 37.8 million dollars. That’s 8.5 million more than the previous year. The money comes from proceeds of land resources and income from investments. State Treasurer Richard Ellis manages those investments, and he says the extra earnings can mostly be attributed to market gains.
“We’re seeing the economy recover,” Ellis says. “Corporations are having record earnings. The economy’s picking up, so it’s been a good time for the investments.” He says schools can use the money for anything they like, as long as it’s related to academics.
“Primarily we see it for reading and math remediation programs. Those are the two areas that probably get the most money. That could be hiring aids to help with the reading program. It could be hiring a reading specialist for the school,” Ellis says. “Depending on the size of the school, this could be 70 to 100,000 dollars, or even in excess of 100,000 dollars for a very large high school in the state.”
The treasurer says he expects earnings to continue the upward trend over the next few years, particularly if interest rates go up, since the state has investments in bonds.