North Dakota's school land permanent trust fund is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the Bakken development.
"It took 122 years to hit $1 billion," said deputy land commissioner Jeff Engleson of the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands. "It took two and two quarter years to hit the second billion."
North Dakota has about 743,000 surface acres of trust lands, located primarily in the western part of the state oil country. The land was granted to the state as it was to the majority of westward expansion states by the federal government at its founding and is intended to support public education for as long as the state exists.This is one of those articles I hope it not lost due to archiving. I may come back to it and post data points so that if the article is lost, we have the major points.
I don't know if the trust lands referred to in this article are the same as those discussed in one of my earliest posts, and linked at the sidebar at the right, at the very bottom:
The origins of granting sections 16 and 36 of each township to public education.From the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands:
Early History of North Dakota: Essential Outlines of American History
by Clement Augustus Lounsberry, p. 628.
"The idea of assigning a constant share of all United States public lands, for the support of free education, wherever the public domain might extend beyond the limits of the original states, was first engrafted upon this nation, by our Revolutionary forefathers, in the general ordinance for public surveys, passed by Congress May 20, 1785; this great statute devoting section 16 in each township "for the maintenance of public schools within the said township."
In 1889 the brand new State of North Dakota, through an act of Congress called The Enabling Act, received a gift of over 3 million acres of land from the Federal Government for the purpose of funding public education in the State to perpetuity. Typically, that transfer included Sections 16 and 36 in every North Dakota township. To manage the assets, Article IX of the North Dakota Constitution created the Board of University and School Lands, more commonly referred to as the Land Board. The Land Board is comprised of the Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and Superintendant of Public Instruction.If so, and if I understand the article correctly, it begs the question why we are still hearing about funding issues for the states public schools....maybe someone can enlighten me.
[Added: see comments below -- 3 million acres originally; then to 1.8 million acres and most of this was in the west.]
Other data points from the article:
North Dakota is in good shape compared with many other states, according to a recent study that examines the management of school trust lands for all 50 states. The team from Utah State University found that 30 states have lost school trust lands; 20 states still have permanent trust lands. Of those states, not all of them have managed their income as well as others.
Richard West, executive director and professor at the Center for the School of the Future at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, said other states have lost school trust lands due to mismanagement or neglect of fiduciary duty. California, for instance, had lost 92 percent of its original school trust fund acreage as of 2011 and had just $61 million in a permanent trust fund. Nevada had lost 100 percent of its original 4 million acreage and has $307 million in its permanent trust fund for schools. Wisconsin had lost nearly 100 percent of its original 1.5 million acreage and had a permanent trust fund valued at $836 million.
Other states, like North Dakota, have benefited from energy development. Texas, for instance, had $31.2 billion in its permanent trust fund in 2011.