HomeValley View Elementary, Salem Junior High Win #SITLAfunds15 Challenge

Valley View Elementary, Salem Junior High Win #SITLAfunds15 Challenge

Congratulations to Valley View Elementary School in Davis School District and Salem Junior High School in Nebo School District for winning the inaugural #SITLAfunds15 Instagram Challenge. SITLA, in cooperation with the School Children’s Trust Office at the Utah Office of Education, 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 Valley View Elementary photo earned the Judges’ Choice Award and a $1000 bonus to their School LAND Trust Funds. Valley View uses their trust funds for art programs, teaching students about great artists, their history and techniques. They also hosted a Gallery Night featuring student artwork. Salem Junior High School used social media to gather more than 1,200 likes for their Instagram photo, earning $1000 for their efforts. Their school uses its School LAND Trust Funds to purchase technology for every student and help hire qualified teachers. Elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the state received $39.2 million in School LAND Trust funds for the 2014-2015 school year, at no cost to taxpayers. The School LAND Trust Office of the Utah Board of Education distributed the record $39.2 million in annual interest and dividends from the $2 billion Permanent School Fund. 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 their school’s needs and administers the funds accordingly. Last year, School Community Councils statewide chose to augment teaching staff by allocating $20 million to hire additional teachers and aides. Councils also spent $5 million to purchase computers and other technology. Other schools supported language, tutorial, special needs, music, and other programs. Annual distributions from the Permanent School Fund have grown tremendously, from just $8.3 million in fiscal year 2004 to $39.2 million this year. This growth is largely due to revenue generated by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), which has deposited more than $1 billion into the Permanent School Fund since 2004, and $125 million last year alone. SITLA manages Utah’s 3.3 million acres of school trust lands for the public education system. The Administration generates revenue from a diverse portfolio of oil, gas, mining, real estate development, and other sales, leasing, and permitting activities. Revenue is deposited into the Permanent School Fund, which is now invested by a board of financial and investment professionals led by the state treasurer. In addition to generating $125 million for public schools, SITLA earned an additional $10 million for state hospitals, universities, and teaching colleges.

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