BISMARCK -- North Dakota’s largest education trust fund will provide $366.8 million for the state’s public schools in the next two years, state school Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said.

The Common Schools Trust Fund’s contribution for the 2019-21 biennium represents an increase of $78.5 million, or 27.2 percent, from the current two-year budget period, Baesler said in a news release. That amount is about $1,600 per student. The trust fund’s biennial contributions to schools have almost quadrupled since 2011.

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The increase will help the Legislature as it attempts to maintain North Dakota’s present level of state aid to schools, Baesler said. Most of that aid comes from North Dakota’s general fund, which is financed largely by sales and income taxes.

Sales and income tax revenue growth has slowed dramatically in recent years, but increased Common Schools Trust Fund contributions – along with money from a separate fund, called the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund – have helped the Legislature maintain the state’s school aid payment at $9,646 per student for the past three years, the release said.

Enrollment in the state's public schools is projected to grow by almost 5 percent, to 116,347, by 2021.