Trust Lands Specialist

 

Utah PTA has been advocating for Utah's children for over 80 years. Twenty-five years ago, when the education community realized the school trust lands were under performing, Utah PTA was at the forefront of the reform efforts, helping to ensure these assets were managed with the best interests of Uah's public school children in mind. Uah PTA continues to advocate for all of Utah's children, for proper management of our school trust lands, and for the distribution from the investment of trust land revenues to continue to make a diference in our schools.

 

Open Position - 2018-2019 Trust Lands Board Specialist

The position of Utah PTA 2018-2019 Trust Lands Board Specialist is open. 
Anyone interested in this position can contact Jeana Stockdale, Utah PTA President at Jeana@UtahPTA.org

 

The Trust Lands Board Specialist works under the direction of the Advocacy Vice President but also advises and takes counsel from the Utah PTA Board of Directors as needed. The Trust Lands Board Specialist shall become familiar and comply with the Utah PTA bylaws and standing rules, particularly the Board and Board Specialists Responsibilities in the Utah PTA Board of Directors Handbook.

Specific duties and responsibilities of the Utah PTA Trust Lands Board Specialist:

  • Be a PTA member 
  • Be approved by the Board and serve for one (1) year under the Utah PTA Director of Advocacy
  • Organize and chair a Trust Lands Committee as appropriate
  • Present recommendations for Trust Lands Committee members to the Board for approval 
  • Plan and conduct committee meetings
  • Coordinate efforts with Commissioners
  • Develop and update, with the Trust Lands Committee, trust lands resources for the Leadership Committee
  • Represent the Utah PTA on school trust lands issues in consultation with the President, Director of Advocacy, and Education Commissioner
  • Work with the Education Commissioner, the Community Involvement Commissioner, and the USBE to coordinate community council training for parents, districts, administrators, and community councils
  • Work to increase community knowledge and awareness about trust lands and their importance to the education community
  • Serve as a member of the Trust Advisory Committee (TAC) on long-range strategies  
  • Attend monthly School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) Board meetings
  • Attend the School and Institutional Trust Fund Board of Trustees meetings
  • Attend the annual Children’s Land Alliance Supporting Schools (CLASS) conference
  • Participate on committees and task forces with government, community, and USBE agencies and departments
  • Collect the volunteer hours of appointees and consultants serving on the Trust Lands Committee and report them to the Community Involvement Commissioner at each Board meeting
  • Implement programs and projects and be knowledgeable about and responsible for the areas of trust lands concerns

School Trust Lands

School Trust Lands were granted by the United States to each state joining the union beginning with Ohio 1803 through Alaska in 1959. These lands were granted in trust for the support of public education. Initially, each state received one square mile in each thirty-six square mile township. As western states were added, the grants expanded to two sections per township. When Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico entered the union they were granted four sections per township. Currently there are 3.4 million surface acres of Trust Land in Utah.

For more information on School Trust Lands, please see the documents below:

School Community Councils

The Utah State Legislature passed a law in 2000 requiring every public school in the state to establish a School Community Council at the school-site level (Utah Code. Section 53A-1a-108). Each Scool Community Council consists of the principal, school empoyees, and parents or guardians of students attending the school. The School Community Council determines their school's greatest academic need and prepares a plan to address that need with the school's portion of the money distributed from the School LAND Trust program. 

For more information on School Community Councils, please visit http://www.schoollandtrust.org/ and use this website as an invaluable resource for your School Community Council. It includes information about elections and the responsibilities of council members along with timelines, checklists and other training materials.

 A bill passed in the 2015 legislative session giving School Community Councils the responsibility to partner with school administration in creating a safe and constructive internet environment for students. If your council is looking for training options to meet the new Safe Technology and Digital Citizenship requirements, there are resources available at no charge. Please see the document below for a list of these resources.

Join the "Utah School Community Councils" group on Facebook
in order to receive information, ask questions and share ideas with other SCC members.

Goals of the Trust Lands Specialist

The goals of the Utah PTA Trust Lands Board Specialist are to:

  1. Educate Utahns on the importance of school trust lands, the School LAND Trust program, and on the role of trust lands in education funding.
  2. Educate parents, community councils and PTA members on the role and function of community councils, the role of PTA in community councils, and the importance of PTA involvement with community councils.
  3. Advocate for PTA and trust land/community council issues with the Utah legislature, the state executive office (governor, attorney general, state treasurer), state and local school boards, the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration, the School and Institutional Trust Fund Office, and other local, state and federal policy makers.
  4. Coordinate efforts to influence federal actions, policies and legislation that affect Utah trust lands.

School LAND Trust Program

The School LAND Trust Program, established by the legislature in 1999, distributes the “annual dividend” from the permanent State School Fund through school districts and charter schools for all public schools in the state. Elected parents, elected teachers, and the school’s principal serve on School Community Councils. School Community Councils in each school prepare a plan to address the school’s greatest academic need. Local School Boards approve the plans, and funding is sent to each school with an approved plan before the school year begins. The program is paperless and visible on the web at www.schoollandtrust.org.

Utah PTA Trust Lands History

In 1989, PTA member Sandra Skossen of Monticello, UT passed a resolution through the May 1989 State PTA convention to look into school trust lands and the revenue they should be generating for schools. Utah PTA adopted a position statement that trust lands should be more productive. The Utah PTA began educating members on trust lands through classes at convention and publications.

 

Utah PTA has been involved ever since and continues to follow issues that will affect Trust Lands and/or the permanent State School Fund.  Download the PDF for a complete history.