ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, recently was elected to chair the Legislature’s Permanent School Trust Land Commission.
School trust lands were set aside at the time of statehood in 1858 for the purpose of producing income for the state’s school districts. The commission’s task is to ensure these properties continue to be managed to produce revenue for Minnesota’s public schools. The commission is examining current management practices and on how best to maximize the long term sustainability of revenue from our school trust lands.
“I look forward to continuing the work of this very important commission,” Lueck said. “The State Constitution is very specific that these school trust lands are to be managed to produce revenue for our school districts. It is vital that these resources are managed effectively for the purpose of funding our children’s education.”
The 12-member commission consists of six members from the Minnesota Senate and the other six are from of the House of Representatives. Lueck has served as a member of the commission since he was first elected to the House in 2015.
When Minnesota became a state the federal government granted sections 16 and 36 in every township, or their equivalent, to the state for the use of the schools. Minnesota currently has approximately 2.5 million acres of school trust land, plus an additional 1 million acres of mineral rights. Revenue is produced through a variety of sources including, but not limited to rental agreements, timber stumpages sales, mineral exploration and mining leases, and aggregate production.
The revenues generated from these lands are deposited into the Permanent School Trust Fund, which currently is at just over $1 billion dollars. The annual investment income provided from the trust fund is distributed to Minnesota’s school districts on a per student basis annually.
Commission chairs serve on a rotating basis between the Senate and House. Lueck takes over the gavel from Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, who has served as chair of the commission for the past two years.