The state owns about three-million acres of state trust lands, which were given to Colorado by the federal government in 1876 for specific purposes (view a map of state trust lands ). The lands are managed by the State Land Board. Some of the lands are leased for ranching, farming, mineral and oil and gas production, commercial, and other uses in order to earn income for trust beneficiaries.
Over ninety-five percent of these lands are part of the common schools trust. Earnings are used to benefit kindergarten through12th-grade public education in the state.
In addition to the lands, the school trust includes the Public School Fund (also known as the permanent fund) that had a fund balance of about $617 million at the end of Fiscal Year 2011-12. The Treasurer is the custodian of the fund, and the state constitution requires that it be securely and profitably invested. The corpus of the permanent fund is inviolate, and the interest is used to support K-12 education.