ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, was re-appointed to the Legislative Permanent School Trust Commission and is a new appointee to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
“Our region is rich in natural resources, how we manage those resources is critical to ensuring we create opportunity for our citizens.” Lueck said. “Those resources provide an important economic benefit to our area, but that benefit also extends to all corners of the state.”
The LPSFC includes 12 legislative members and it advises the Department of Natural Resources and the school trust lands director on the management of permanent school fund land. Funds generated by the school trust fund are distrusted annually to the school districts in the state.
Minnesota has about 2.5 million acres of school trust land and an additional million acres of mineral deposits. School trust lands were first set aside when Minnesota was a territory. Minnesota’s State Constitution requires those lands be used to specifically generate revenue to fund K-12 public schools.
Lueck said the general public often confuses school trust lands with DNR land. School trust lands are generally open to the public, he said, similar to other public lands. However, Lueck indicated decisions on timber harvest, mining and lease arrangements are made based on the state’s fiduciary responsibility to generate revenue for public schools.
About 80 percent of the annual revenue that goes into the school trust fund corpus is generated by mineral leases and mining royalties, the remainder comes from forestry and real estate leases, Lueck said. That corpus generates annual interest and dividends, which are distributed to public school districts on a per-student capita basis. This year, Lueck said the Aitkin school district will receive about $48,819, Crosby-Ironton $43,422, McGregor $19,921, Hill City 10,592 and Brainerd $277,631.
“It’s ironic that some of our friends and neighbors in the metro area and even the city of Duluth are activity working against mining operations.” Lueck said. “It should be noted that the St. Paul school district will receive about $1.4 million and the Duluth school district about $355,980 this year from the school trust fund. Which again, about 80 percent is generated from ongoing mineral lease and mining royalty payments.”
The LCCMR Commission consist of 12 legislators and five citizens. The commission makes funding recommendations for special environment and natural resource projects, primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. These projects help maintain and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources.
The LCCMR was established in 1963 and, since then, approximately $1 billion has been appropriated to more than 2,300 projects recommended to the Legislature by the commission to protect and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources.