Monday, January 31, 2011

School-trust land may lead to more funding

Behind the red and black dots peppering a map of Colorado lies more funding for public schools, said Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Arvada, Friday on the Senate floor, using a locator map of public school-trust land to bolster support for her measure, Senate Bill 29.

“There is a huge treasure that we have in this state with these lands,” said Hudak. “This bill provides a greater level of transparency in the management of these lands.”

School-trust land, as it is called, is managed by the State Land Board under the Department of Natural Resources. The wide-ranging parcels were granted to the state of Colorado by the federal government when Colorado became a state, the sole purpose being to provide a steady stream of income to fund public schools.

SB 29 consolidates the due date for several reports the land board is required to produce concerning the income the lands are generating and makes an annual “income and inventory report” mandatory.

“This codifies the (income and inventory report) report,” said Hudak. “We need to have access to that information about the board’s investments. When you shine a light on something, it has the effect of making it more accountable.”

Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, agreed with Hudak.

“It’s a good idea,” said Spence. “The value that these lands are generating for public schools should be more transparent. We should know if their value is truly being maximized.”

SB 29 passed by voice vote in the full Senate and is now scheduled for final consideration and a recorded vote in the Senate on today.

Via – Colorado News Agency

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