School Trust Lands

Performance Area: Natural Lands

Meeting Fiduciary Responsibilities for School Trust Lands

Why Is This Important?

As a trustee, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 2.5 million acres of school trust lands and an additional 1 million acres of severed school trust mineral interests. Title to the school trust lands is vested with the State of Minnesota, in trust for the support of public schools.

As outlined in Article XI, section 8 of the Minnesota Constitution, the DNR has a fiduciary duty to manage the school trust lands with undivided loyalty to the beneficiaries of the trust, Minnesota public schools. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 127A.31, the statutory goal of the Permanent School Fund (PSF) is to secure the maximum long-term economic return from the school trust lands consistent with the fiduciary responsibilities imposed by the trust relationship established in the Minnesota Constitution, with sound natural resource conservation and management principles, and with other specific policy provided in state law.

What Is DNR Doing?

The Minnesota State Constitution established the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to ensure a long-term source of funds for public education. The PSF consists of the accumulated revenues generated from school trust lands which are managed for the benefit of Minnesota's public school system.   Image 1 of 1 (use left/right arrows to navigate previous/next)

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Minnesota’s school trust revenues ebb and flow with local, national and global economic circumstance. Within the FY18-19 biennium, the iron ore and taconite industry improved their position in local markets and increased operation capacity, forest products continued to be in steady demand with a noted observation that sell rates were declining, and the real estate market continued to exceed expectations in the Midwest.

During the FY18-19 biennium, DNR management activities generated approximately $39.7 million worth of distribution to the PSF. In the same period, the fund produced interest and dividends totaling $69 million paid directly to Minnesota’s public school districts.