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Texas school fund now worth nation-high $37.7B

October 7, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A fund Texas uses to buy instructional materials and cover some local school districts' costs is now worth nearly $38 billion, making it the nation's largest educational endowment.

State officials credited a booming natural gas industry for growing the Permanent School Fund, which was worth about $37.7 billion as of June 30.

It was worth just $2 million when it was created in 1854.

The fund gets proceeds from the sale of state land and mineral rights for oil and natural gas exploration.

The Texas Education Agency said Tuesday that the fund outpaced Harvard University's endowment, which was valued at $36.4 billion through June 30.

Funding for public schools is included separately in the state budget. But the Permanent School Fund buys classroom materials and helps school districts guarantee bonds.