Recent reports on the administration of Utah's school trust lands would indicate a need to bar further sell-offs of the land and to prevent any land trades, except with approval of the Legislature. The shrinkage of about 6 million acres given to Utah at statehood to something less than 4 million acres seems to indicate a misuse of the trust concept.

The October-November 1993 issue of Insights raises the question: Are public trust funds for schools wasted? Nationally, the trust lands amount to 150 million acres.The Insight report examines school trust funds in Mississippi where 644,559 acres had been set aside. In that state in 1985, Secretary of State Dick Molpus was reported in a newspaper article as predicting potential highly favorable results from the funds, but as to the past he was quoted as saying that: "The 150-year history of the 16th section lands in Mississippi is a history of poor judgement, neglect, nepotism and outright fraud."

On the good news side, Insights also reports on the state of Washington: "The University of Washington, which still retains title to hundreds of acres of downtown Seattle land, covers much of its budget requirements from land lease income."

Earl A. Hanson

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Cedar City

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