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Back to School with $82.66 Million in Trust Funds

As the new school year begins with a record $82.66 million in School LAND Trust Funds, the School Children’s Trust Section at the Utah State Board of Education urges parents to join their School Community Councils and determine how to best spend their school’s trust funds.

Every K-12 school in Utah has its own School Community Council or Charter Trust Land Council, comprising parents, teachers and the principal. Each council determines the greatest academic needs of their students and prepares a plan to improve student academic performance. The Council then allocates its portion of School LAND Trust Funds to this effort.

“School community councils give Utah parents a unique opportunity to engage with teachers and a principal to help direct meaningful spending in their child’s school,” said Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. “The School LAND Trust Funds put dollars to work to improve student academic achievement.”

School LAND Trust Funds are annual earnings from the $2.5 billion Permanent State School Fund. This permanent fund was created at statehood and accompanies a 3.3 million-acre land grant for public schools. Revenue from these school trust lands is deposited into the Permanent State School Fund.

This year’s record distribution of $82.66 million in School LAND Trust Funds totals nearly three percent of the $2.5 billion Permanent State School Fund. A formula in Utah law determines annual distributions, which are allocated to each K-12 school based largely on a per-pupil formula.

Since 1994, the School LAND Trust Program has distributed $617 million to Utah schools. Last year, Utah schools spent $74 million in trust funds on teachers and aides to reduce class sizes, professional development, classroom technology, and textbooks.

Four agencies build, invest, administer, and protect the Utah School LAND Trust Program:

SITLA, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, manages Utah’s 3.3 million acres of school trust lands, depositing revenue into the Permanent State School Fund.

SITFO, the School and Institutional Trust Funds Office, invests the $2.5 billion Permanent State School Fund.

The School Children’s Trust Section at the Utah State Board of Education administers the School LAND Trust Program. This office trains and supports School Community Councils as they prepare academic plans to be reviewed and approved by local school boards.

Created in 2018 by the Utah Legislature, the Lands Trust Protection and Advocacy Office represents the beneficiary interests of Utah schools.