Oklahoma public schools received more than $93.6 million from the Commissioners of the Land Office over the past 12 months, an increase of more than $600,000 from the previous fiscal year.
Each month, the Commissioners of the Land Office, which oversees the Trust, distribute funds to public K-12 schools. The Trust distributed $93,626,718 in fiscal year 2014. That figure is up from a flat $93 million in FY 2013.
“I appreciate the dedication and hard work of the Land Office in ensuring it gets every dollar it can for Oklahoma education,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “It is my privilege to serve as a commissioner, and I am encouraged by this funding increase over last year.”
As a member of the five-member board that oversees activities of the Land Commissioner, Barresi is active in helping the agency move into areas designed to grow both the permanent trust and the monthly distribution that are vital to school districts.
The Land Office supports education through funds generated from land that the U.S. Congress set aside prior to statehood. Agriculture leases, commercial leases, and oil and gas leases are a few of the revenue sources.
Since the trust began distributing funds based on a five-year rolling average, schools throughout Oklahoma have received a relatively steady amount despite the economic slowdown of recent years. The latest oil and gas boom and a slight improvement in the stock market led to this year’s increase in funds.
Trust allocations are distributed to schools proportionally to enrollment with no strings attached, allowing local districts to decide how to put the money to use.