Last week, State Senator John Hoffman participated in a tour of Minnesota public lands that have been set aside in the state’s Constitution since 1858 to generate revenue for public schools. Minnesota’s School Trust Lands program provides money for schools across the state through a variety of economic activities such as timber harvesting, leasing for mineral exploration, and the mining industry.
“As a legislator responsible for overseeing this important fund, it was important to not only see the lands, but gain a better understanding of this little-known but vitally important source of funding for our schools,” Sen. Hoffman said. “There are more than 2.5 million acres of land in Minnesota designated to the School Trust Lands program – and the revenue this program generates is distributed to every school district in the state.”
Senator Hoffman added, “the Anoka Hennepin school district – with more than 38,000 students – received $1,475,808 from this funding source last year. The Osseo school district – with a student population of more than 20,000 students – received $797,864. The School Trust Lands fund is an important revenue source that benefits all of our students.”
The biggest revenue driver in this program is Minnesota’s taconite mining industry. State revenue generated from taconite mining accounts for approximately 80 percent of the school trust. “Our mining industry not only provides economic benefits for communities on the Iron Range, but it is a critical source of funding for schools throughout the state,” Hoffman said.
The School Trust Lands serve as a reminder of Minnesota’s commitment to education. “As a legislator, I will continue my support of industries that protect Minnesota’s economic vibrance, natural resources, and legacy of strong public education for generations to come,” Hoffman said.