On Aug. 21, State Representative John Ward (DFL–Baxter) participated in a meeting of the Legislative Permanent School Trust Land Commission. The commission examined school trust land revenues and investment returns, and received an update on the management of the land.
“We had a productive meeting, and our school trust lands continue to generate additional income for our schools and are being well managed,” said Rep. Ward. “The Permanent School Trust Land Commission will continue to provide adequate oversight of the DNR’s land management policy going forward.”
When Minnesota became a state in 1858, the federal government granted sections 16 and 36 of every township, or their equivalent, to the state for the use of schools. The Minnesota Constitution established the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to ensure a long-term source of funds for public education in the state. The PSF consists of the accumulated revenues generated from the land. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for managing the school trust land, which currently totals about 2.5 million acres, plus an additional 1 million acres of severed mineral rights.
The Minnesota Legislature established the Permanent School Fund Advisory Committee (PSFAC) to review DNR land management policies, advise DNR on the management of trust land, and recommend necessary changes in statute, policy, and implementation in order to insure provident utilization of the permanent school fund lands.
“These lands belong to the school children of Minnesota,” said Rep. Ward. “We have every obligation to manage these lands properly and ensure that our children and their schools receive as much money from them as possible. I will continue to work and support efforts to do just that.”
In addition to Rep. Ward, Reps. Tim O’Driscoll, John Benson, Mary Sawatzky, Deb Kiel, and Denny McNamara, along with Sens. Carrie Ruud, John Hoffman, Eric Pratt, Tom Saxhaug, Bill Weber, and Chuck Wiger all serve on the commission.