The School Trust

Annual Statewide Distribution

The School LAND Trust Program, established by the legislature in 1999, distributes a portion of the annual earnings from the permanent School Fund through districts and charter schools to all public schools in the state.

The annual distribution from the School LAND Trust program has grown from $4.95 million in the 2001-2002 school year to a planned distribution of over $88.83 million in 2020-2021.

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School LAND Trust Program Annual Statewide Distribution 2001-2021

History

Before the first United States Congress ratified the constitution and before the election of George Washington, a process was established by the Continental Congress to ensure children of the new country would be educated. The Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set aside lands to support public education as territories and states became part of the Union. The Founding Fathers were concerned about the sporadic establishment of schools and demonstrated their commitment to an educated citizenry and maintaining a democracy as the organized system of land grants was put in place.

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School Trust Lands in Utah

Land

Over 3.2 million acres of land held in trust for Utah’s K-12 schools is managed by the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). Since its inception, SITLA has generated $1.96 billion for the permanent School Fund. SITLA is overseen by a Board of Trustees. David Ure is currently serving as Director of SITLA.

There are five business groups at SITLA tasked with land management and revenue production. They are the Mining, Oil and Gas, Surface, Renewable Resources and Development groups. The annual revenue from the land, minus expenses to manage the land, is deposited into the permanent State School Fund.

For questions about school trust lands, please contact Deena Loyola, at (801) 538-5102 or via e-mail at deenaloyola@utah.gov.

Fund

Funds generated from school trust lands are transferred to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO). SITFO is overseen by a Board of Trustees chaired by Utah State Treasurer David Damschen.

The Utah Enabling Act and Utah Constitution require the establishment of a permanent State School Fund. The fund has grown from $18 million in 1983 to over $2.4 billion in 2019 because of the involvement of the education community, support of the legislature, increasing land revenue, and prudent investment of the fund.

The earnings from the fund provide an annual distribution for the School LAND Trust Program. In 2019-2020, Utah public schools received over $82 million through the School LAND Trust Program.

Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office

The Utah Legislature created the Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office (Advocacy Office) to represent the beneficiary interests of the school and institutional trust and to advocate for:

  • Productive use and optimal revenue of school and institutional trust lands by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration
  • Prudent and profitable investment of trust funds by the School and Institutional Trust Fund Office
  • Effective distribution of funds to public schools through the School LAND Trust program
  • Optimization of revenue to all beneficiaries

Administration

Justin Atwater
Advocacy Director
Phone: (801) 359-4379 | E-mail

Jessie Stuart
Executive Assistant
Phone: (801) 359-4379 | E-mail

Five-member Committee

The five-member Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Committee (Advocacy Committee) oversees the activities of the director and provides the director with policy direction.

Paula Plant
School Children’s Trust Director

Mel Brown
Chair
Appointed by the State Treasurer

Tom Bachtell
Appointed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) Board

Steve Ostler
Appointed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) Board

Brigham Tomco
Appointed by the School and Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO) Board

For more information on the Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Committee: 

Trust Lands Advisory Committee (TLAC)

The Utah State Board of Education reconstituted and recognized the Trust Lands Advisory Committee (TLAC) in November 2016 Board Resolution 2016-4 and then reaffirmed support with the Utah State Board of Education Policy 5007 in December of 2019.

Trust Lands Advisory Committee (TLAC)
Policy, Law and Professional Practices

The purpose of TLAC is to advise the Board regarding school trust lands and funds, school community councils and the School LAND Trust program, and assist the School Children’s Trust section of the Utah State Board of Education to disseminate information to the education community about the implementation of the Board’s policies, programs, rules, and procedures.

Members

Committee Chair

Nancy KennedyE-mail
Representing Local School Boards
Term Expires: March 2021

Committee Vice Chair

Cade DouglasE-mail
Representing District Superintendents
Term Expires: March 2023

Jay BlainE-mail
Representing Educators
Term Expires: March 2021

Steven C. DavisE-mail
Representing Charter Schools
Term Expires: March 2023

Susan EdwardsE-mail
At Large Member
Term Expires: March 2021

Linda Hansen | E-mail
Representing At-Risk Students 
Term Expires: March 2023

Shawn McLeod | E-mail
Representing Secondary Principals
Term Expires: March 2021 

Liz MumfordE-mail
At Large Member
Term Expires: March 2023 

Lark Reynolds | E-mail
Representing Business Administrators
Term Expires: March 2021

Tyler Slack | E-mail
Representing Parents
Term Expires: March 2023

Mary WohlforthE-mail
Representing Elementary Principals
Term Expires: March 2021

Sarah ThomasE-mail
Representing Parents from Rural Areas
Term Expires: March 2021

Carolyn WhiteE-mail
At Large Member
Term Expires: March 2023

Meetings Schedule

The 2021 committee will meet on the third Monday of each month (excluding February and July) with exceptions listed below.
Time: Noon - 2 p.m.
Location: Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

2021

August 17

September 21

October 26
Due to Fall Break

November 16

December 21
If Needed

January 11
Due to Martin Luther King Day

March 15

April 26
Due to Superintendents/Business Administrators Meeting

May 17

June 21 

 

For access to prior meeting minutes, please contact Natalie Gordon at (801) 538-7533.