School LAND Trust Program funds are distributed directly to schools in Utah, where school community councils, consisting of parents, teachers, and school principals, exercise discretion in the application of these funds to improve academic performance. The program is a powerful instrument of local control.
These distributions come from the Permanent State School Fund, an approximately $2 billion, diversified investment fund. David chairs the board that oversees these investments.
The distributions have been limited, under Article X, Section 5 of the Utah Constitution, to "interest and dividends." This constraint provides on average for annual distributions of 2% -- 2.5%, which in 2015 totaled $45 million.
An amendment to the Utah Constitution (the related proposal, SJR 12, passed during the 2016 general session of the Utah legislature) will appear on Utah's 2016 general election ballot. This amendment will allow for a less stringent, more stable method of distributions, paving the way for a more "endowment style" distribution formula that will provide higher distributions -- in the 3% -- 3.5% range on average. This change would increase distributions by approximately 40% on average.
David will work diligently to promote passage of this prudent change to the Utah Constitution. Stabilizing and increasing this non-tax revenue source to Utah public schools brings more resources into our educational system, and in a small way, also reduces the burden that taxpayers bear in funding public education in Utah.