FY 2016 Appropriation

The School LAND (Learning And Nurturing Development) Trust Program, often referred to as School Trust Lands, was established by the Legislature in the 1999 General Legislative Session. In exchange for not taxing federal land, the U.S. Congress "gave lands to Utah schools at statehood. The lands are held in a legal trust for our schools. Schools own 3.3 million acres. The lands are managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration and must, by law, be used to generate money for our schools. The money is put in a permanent savings account, which is never spent, but invested" (USOE School LAND Trust Program, Website, December 2006) by the State Treasurer.

The interest and dividends earned off the permanent school fund are distributed to local schools to provide resources to improve student academic achievement as outlined in the school's academic improvement plan. Law requires each school to form a School Community Council which prepares the school improvement plan. Plans identify the academic needs of a school and provide a solution to these needs by using the annual School LAND Trust dividend allocated to the school. Local school boards approve each of the school generated academic improvement plans.

Formula -- Ten percent of program revenue is distributed equally to districts (with charter schools treated as a single school district) as a program base. The remaining 90 percent is distributed proportionally and as determined by prior year fall enrollment.

Funding History

Funding Issues

Increased Interest & Dividends Revenue

Additional revenue in the Interest & Dividends Account that will be distributed to public schools.
Appropriation Overview

During the 2015 General Session, the Legislature appropriated for Fiscal Year 2016, $39,730,000 from all sources for School LAND Trust Program. This is a 5.7 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2015 revised estimated amounts from all sources.

Appropriation Adjustments

In addition to statewide compensation and internal service fund cost increases, the following appropriation adjustments were made during the 2015 General Session:

DescriptionOngoingOne-Time Increased Interest & Dividends Revenue$2,149,300$0
OngoingOne-TimeFinancing Source
$2,149,300$0Interest and Dividends Account
Additional revenue in the Interest & Dividends Account that will be distributed to public schools.

The following statutes govern the State contribution to the School LAND Trust program:

  • 53A-16-101.5 -- establishes the School LAND Trust program, details the funding source for program appropriations, and outlines the formula used to distribute funds to local schools. The statute also provides direction to local school districts in distributing allocated revenues among district schools. Finally, the statute requires the creation of School Community Councils in order to obtain trust land revenues and outlines the duties of the School Community Councils.
  • 53A-17a-131.17 -- provides for the State contribution to the School LAND Trust Program. Appropriations to the program, based on the amount of interest and dividend revenue collected, may be made "up to a maximum of an amount equal to 2% of the funds provided for the Minimum School Program."

Administrative Rule R277-477-3 was passed by the State Board of Education. The rule provides administrative procedures associated with the governance of the School LAND Trust program.

Intent Language

HB0002: Item 2

The Legislature intends that the State Board of Education review the Pupil Transportation Allocation Formula and recommend ways to improve the formula to increase efficiency, simplify allocation methodology to school districts, and provide incentives for alternative transportation methods. The Legislature further intends that the State Board of Education report its recommendations to the Education Interim Committee and the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee by October 31, 2015.

HB0002: Item 2

The Legislature intends that the State Board of Education and State Board of Regents provide joint recommendations on how to ensure that each concurrent enrollment course is taught by a qualified instructor, that credits earned by students count towards major and minor degree requirements at state colleges and universities, and that students are advised on the transferability of credits to private and out of state institutions. The Legislature also intends that these recommendations be reported to the Education Interim Committee and the Public Education Appropriations Committee by October 31, 2015.

Public schools receive all interest and dividends earned off of the permanent school fund in a given year. The appropriation made by the Legsislature each year is an estimate, actual funding may vary slightly depending on market conditions.

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COBI contains unaudited data as presented to the Legislature by state agencies at the time of publication. For audited financial data see the State of Utah's Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.