In 1853, with the passage of the
Act of March 3, 1853 (10 Stat. 244), the Federal Government
gifted 5.5 million acres to the State of California to be used
for the support of public education. Between 1855 and 1984,
nearly 90 percent of the “school lands” (all of the high quality
land) was sold, leaving behind mostly desert land, most of which
falls within the boundaries of the lands protected by the
Desert Protection Act.
Since 1984, the remaining lands have been under the trusteeship
of the State Lands
Commission, or SLC, with the proceeds from land sales
reinvested into the trust and only the lease income flows to the
Teacher Retirement System’s Supplemental Benefit Maintenance
Account. The School Land Bank Fund currently holds 468,000± acres
of land and another 790,000± acres of mineral rights where the
surface rights have been previously sold.