It’s been said you can’t really understand people until you walk a mile in their shoes. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for our state’s educators, but I didn’t fully understand how extremely difficult teaching was until I tried it myself.

This year, I volunteered to substitute teach in the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system. Walking a mile in a teacher’s shoes showed me how hard teaching was, but I also learned how amazing the students in our public school system are. The children I taught were smart, eager to learn, and more than willing to participate in classroom activities.

I invite you to learn more about what’s going on in Louisiana schools by taking a look at this year’s Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund (LEQTF) Annual Report. The report, which is available online at www.latreasury.com, highlights $57.2 million in Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) projects.

Background

The LEQTF began in 1986 when the state won a $641 million settlement from the federal government over oil and gas revenues. The state placed $541 million of this amount into a trust fund similar to what was done with the funds from the sale of a portion of the tobacco settlement and the current market value of the fund is now almost $900 million.

Disbursements and Earnings

The State Treasury divides a portion of LEQTF annual earnings between BESE and the Board of Regents and has distributed $842.3 million to the two groups since the funds inception. Despite a downward trend in the stock market, the fund was able to maintain positive returns this past fiscal year, partly because only 17 percent of monies were invested in equities. The fund earned $69.75 million in income including interest, dividends, securities lending and royalties in FY 2002 and had a total return of 1.4 percent.

Future Goals

We still have goals we want to reach, including increasing the LEQTF to $2 billion, which will ultimately give us $25 million or more a year in recurring revenue. LEQTF investments are invested for the long haul, and although the market will experience ups and downs, they will continue to grow because of our diversified portfolio.

Whether providing funds for kindergartners learning new art techniques or for university students developing new research, educational enhancement will continue to be the LEQTF’s number one goal.

For more information or to download your copy of the 2002 LEQTF Annual Report, visit www.latreasury.comtoday.