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Eye On Boise

Tue., July 20, 2010, 8:36 a.m.

State endowment fund: ‘A good year in 2010 after a very tough year in ‘09’

Idaho's state Land Board meets on Tuesday, with Gov. Butch Otter, left, presiding. At right are state Controller Donna Jones, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, and deputy state Lands Director Kathy Opp. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho's state Land Board meets on Tuesday, with Gov. Butch Otter, left, presiding. At right are state Controller Donna Jones, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, and deputy state Lands Director Kathy Opp. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho's state endowment fund made 16 percent on its investments in the just-completed 2010 fiscal year, though it dropped 2.2 percent in June. "All of the managers are performing as we would expect them to," Larry Johnson, manager of investments, told the state Land Board this morning. "It was a good year in FY 2010, after, of course, a very tough year in 2009." The state endowment board will meet in August to decide on a recommendation to the Land Board for distributions to the endowment's beneficiaries next year, including public schools. At this point, Johnson said, the board's staff is recommending staying with this year's levels for the most part, but discontinuing the special $22 million, one-time distribution to public schools that the board approved this year at the urging of state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna.

As of May, all the endowments except for public schools had reserves of at least four times the approved 2010 distribution, while public schools reserves were at 2.3 times, after the special distribution. The reserves serve as a "shock absorber" to protect annual distributions when investment earnings have ups and downs. Luna had pressed for twice as big a special distribution to help spare schools from big budget cuts.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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