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BOISE -- Idaho officials say the endowment fund that is used annually to support public schools and other beneficiaries has its highest balance in history.

The Department of Lands reported Tuesday the fund currently has a balance of $1.46 billion. That total is up 14 percent from the end of fiscal 2012.

Fund managers say the record sum is due to strong investment returns and 14 percent higher revenue from endowment lands during the first nine months of fiscal 2013.

The Department of Lands oversees millions of acres of endowment property and collects the majority of the revenue from timber sales.

Each year, money from the fund is distributed to public schools, public universities, state hospitals for the mentally ill, veterans' homes and the state school for the deaf and blind.

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