Based on how state endowment fund investment returns are coming in, Idaho can likely expect distributions to the beneficiaries – the largest of which is public schools – to jump by about 9 percent from the fiscal year 2016 distribution to the 2017 level, investment manager Larry Johnson told the state Land Board this morning. The figures are based on balances at the end of March, so they’ll change when final, year-end figures come in. But at this point, schools, which are getting $31.3 million this year from the endowment and are scheduled to get $32.8 million in fiscal 2016, which starts July 1, would get $35.6 million in fiscal year 2017, an 8.8 percent increase.
Total distributions, to all beneficiaries, would rise 9.6 percent, a $5.4 million total increase from $56.5 million in 2016 to $61.9 million in 2017. In addition, according to current forecasts, $28 million of excess reserves in five endowments – those for agricultural college, charitable institutions, normal school, penitentiary and school of science – would be converted to permanent principal in those endowments.
Johnson told the Land Board, which consists of the governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, state controller, and state superintendent of schools, that the final figures will be presented to the board in August. In addition to the final months’ earnings, the figures also could vary slightly depending on final figures for the state’s 10-year forecast for land earnings and cabin site sales. Idaho auctioned off dozens of state-owned cabin sites at Priest and Payette lakes over the past year, and plans another 80-100 at the two lakes in August or early fall. Those are sites on which renters have built and own cabins, while the state owns the land underneath; in most cases, the cabin owners have been the successful bidders in the auctions.