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Updated Mar 11, 2013 - 4:00 pm

Arizona land trust endowment tops $4B

PHOENIX -- The account that holds and invests money from the sale of Arizona trust land has topped $4 billion for the first time in its history.

State Treasurer Doug Ducey said total assets in the state's Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund exceeded the $4 billion mark at the end of February.

The fund gets it cash from the sale of some of the 10 million-plus acres of land granted to Arizona at statehood in 1910 and the treasurer invests the money. Sixty percent is invested in stocks and the rest in high-grade corporate bonds and U.S. Treasury notes.

"You want to protect that golden goose, but you also want to allow it to grow larger and stronger year after year," said Ducey. "It would be shortsighted to spend or squander that endowment in a single year."

More than 90 percent of the earnings from the fund are distributed to state's K-12 schools. In the budget year that begins July 1, nearly $68 million will go to those schools.

Today, Arizona has nine million acres left valued at about $70 billion.

The fund also helps colleges and state prisons.

KTAR's Christina Estes contributed to this report.

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