Protecting the Assets of Public Schoolchildren


John Maynes

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Richard West


In the early days of the United States of America, the country's founding lawmakers established a system to support public education that did not rely on levying taxes. They created a system to grant lands to schools, which could then generate revenue. By leasing the lands to farmers, miners, loggers, or developers the schools could create a steady stream of income and build long-term financial assets. These financial assets could then be invested to further maximize returns from the land. These lands are called school trust lands. It may then be surprising that few people know about these lands, especially considering that they once made up six percent of all the land in the United States. This legacy has been overlooked and squandered for much of its history, but some states still manage school trust lands profitably for the benefit of schoolchildren. This presentation explores the historical factors that contribute to a state loss of school trust lands, and what can be done in contemporary trust land management to ensure the continuation of this magnificent legacy. Using Mississippi and Alabama as twin states, this study evaluates the divergent factors that have led Alabama to lose the lands it once held in trust while Mississippi has some of the most promising school trust land management in the country.

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