For immediate release: December 29, 2016
Bears Ears Monument
The Bears Ears National Monument recently created by President Obama captures over 100,000 acres of school trust lands. These trust lands were set aside at the time of statehood for the purpose of supporting Utah’s public schools. These lands should be managed in accordance to trust duties and principles, including undivided loyalty to the beneficiaries, and a duty to make trust property productive. Trust lands captured within a monument designation can no longer be managed in a productive way for the benefit of public schools as intended.
Revenue from school trust lands provides an important source of income for our schools. The revenue is invested and earnings are distributed directly to all public schools in the state. The School Community Council at each school determines how the money is spent on their greatest academic need.
Utah PTA asks that federal and state officials ensure Utah’s school children are fairly compensated for the trust lands captured in the monument designation. This should be accomplished through a trade of the lands for comparable value or purchase of the lands for fair market value. The costs of these transactions should also be covered so that Utah’s school children are held harmless.
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