Congratulations to Spanish Oaks Elementary School in Nebo School District and Rocky Mountain Middle School in Wasatch County School District for winning the #SITLAfunds16 Instagram Challenge.
In cooperation with the School Children’s Trust Office at the Utah Office of Education, SITLA organized the photo challenge asking K-12 students, parents, teachers, and administrators to show how School LAND Trust Funds are used in their schools.
The Spanish Oaks Elementary photo earned the Judges’ Choice Award and a $1000 bonus to their School LAND Trust Funds. The School Community Council at Spanish Oaks Elementary allocated its trust funds for classroom technology, such as Chromebooks and iPads, and for its STAR Tutor program offering one-on-one reading with students to provide literacy support.
Rocky Mountain Middle School used social media to gather more than 700 likes for their Instagram photo, earning $1000 for their efforts. The school uses its School LAND Trust Funds for a film course encouraging students to inform, inspire, and motivate other students, and promote safety, anti-bullying and other important messages.
Elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the state received $45.8 million in School LAND Trust Funds this school year, up 17 percent over last year. The $45.8 million is interest and dividends from the $2 billion-plus Permanent School Fund.
“This program provides a fast-growing source of funds for Utah’s schools, which costs taxpayers nothing,” said Tim Donaldson, School Children’s Trust Director for the Utah State Board of Education. “Distributions have doubled over the past five years.”
Individual schools use their School LAND Trust funds on projects determined by its School Community Council. This council, which includes parents, teachers, and the principal, identifies and discusses its school’s particular needs and administers the funds accordingly.
Annual distributions from the Permanent School Fund have grown tremendously, from just $8.3 million in fiscal year 2004 to $45.8 million this year. This growth is due to the support of state policymakers, investment returns generated by the newly-formed School and Institutional Trust Funds Office, and $1.1 billion by SITLA from development on Utah’s 3.3 million acres of school trust land.
In addition to generating $98.5 million for public schools last year, SITLA earned an additional $6.1 million for state hospitals, universities, and teaching colleges.