Today the School Trust Lands Commission (officially called the Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission) received an update from School Trust Lands Director Aaron Vande Linde regarding three proposals in various omnibus bills traveling through the Legislature.
- The first proposal would increase the frequency in which deposits are made to Permanent School Fund from the Mineral Management Account. Currently, the fund is swept at the end of the fiscal year. This proposal would swipe the account quarterly, allowing a greater return on deposits.
- The second provision would help accelerate the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) land sale.
- The third provision would clarify that the School Trust Lands director has the authority to make real-estate deals with the advice of the Commission — and includes a $250,000 appropriation.
Commission Chair Sen. Carrie Ruud asked for the history and status on a $69,000 charge for a sewer-service project in the Woodenfrog State Forest — a fee the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has requested the School Trust Lands pay. Vande Linde questioned whether the School Trust Lands should be charged for land improvement for neighboring residents when there is no return on investment.
In response to another BWCAW-related question, Vande Linde reported that the land-sale process is in the appraisal stage. The appraisal has been submitted to Milwaukee Land Office and the process will continue.
Chair Ruud requested a motion to send a letter to our federal delegation to ask for funding for the nonprofit, Children’s Land Alliance Supporting Students (CLASS). Chair Ruud highlighted the good work of CLASS and acknowledged the difficulty in funding any staff or their annual conference — a conference which brings together School Trust Land beneficiaries. Commission Secretary Rep. Jason Metsa suggested sending the letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as well.