The board voted unanimously Monday to support Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's proposal to draw $52.8 million from the state's endowment reserve fund to close a funding gap for public schools.
The Land Board meets Wednesday to consider Luna's request to tap the $90.4 million Public Schools Earnings Reserve Fund to help offset a $135 million shortfall for K-12 education.
Trustees Ed Smith, Sam Preisler, Shane Beus, Mary Huff and Travis Christensen supported the resolution, which says "it is the responsibility of the Land Board to minimize the impact on our beneficiaries — the students of Idaho."
The resolution said that the reserve would still have over $30 million left, after disbursing both the regular $31.3 million payment to public schools and the additional funds sought by Luna.
In an e-mail to Land Board members Tuesday, Melba Superintendent Bob Larson said his board does "understand the concerns the Land Board may have in making this one time allocation. However, without this distribution Idaho’s public schools and ultimately Idaho’s children are at risk."
The Land Board is comprised of Luna, Gov. Butch Otter, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Controller Donna Jones.