Idaho's land grant endowment fund assets, including 2.4 million acres of Gem State land, have reached an all-time high of $1.46 billion, up 14 percent from Fiscal Year 2012.
The Idaho Department of Lands reported May 21 that the record level of fund assets was due "to stronger investment returns and 14 percent higher revenues, such as money from timber sales or cash returns on building leases.
The endowment trust lands are managed by the Department of Lands and are tied to specific funds and beneficiaries, the largest of which supports Idaho's public school system. Other beneficiaries include the University of Idaho, state hospitals for the mentally ill, Lewis-Clark State college, state veterans homes, Idaho State University, the Capitol Commission, the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind and Idaho's juvenile corrections and prison systems.
The Idaho Constitution stipulates the lands are to be managed "to produce maximum long-term financial returns to the beneficiaries." Distributions to the beneficiaries are expected to total $47.5 million during the current fiscal year and could rise at least 2.8 percent to $48.8 million in Fiscal Year 2014.