School Land Leases Up for Bid Starting Next Week with Proceeds Benefiting Oklahoma EducationWed, 10 Oct 2018 17:07:52 CDT
Coming up next week, the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office will begin hosting its annual land auctions benefitting the state’s public education system. The CLO’s administrator, Secretary Harry Birdwell, stopped by the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network studios recently to visit with Farm Director Ron Hays about these upcoming auctions, how they came about and how they benefit Oklahomans. You can listen to their complete recorded conversation, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Birdwell, the concept itself, goes back even further than statehood. He recalls that it was actually President Thomas Jefferson who conceptualized the idea after brokering the Louisiana Purchase, with the forethought that as the United States developed westward - there would be a need for a well-educated population. He orchestrated a federal government program that granted states, as they became member states of the Union, large tracks of land to be managed for the financial benefit profiting a public education system. And, Oklahoma has done so with the land granted by the federal government ever since the state was established.
Birdwell says Oklahoma has been a successful steward of its school land, having built upon the original grant which over time in the form of a permanent trust fund invested on Wall Street has accumulated to a total that amounts to approximately $2.5 billion. According to Birdwell, the combined income streams overseen by the Commission generated $103 million for K-12 systems in Oklahoma and nearly $35 million for higher education.
This year, roughly 20 percent of the state-owned land, or about 150,000 acres, will be up for auction, broken up into 550 tracts across 36 counties. The first of nine auctions will take place on October 15, 2018 and the final one on October 30th. All tracks of land are leased by live public auction in accordance to the State Constitution and for a period of five years. There is also six mineral auctions that will take place this year, however, these assets of the CLO are separate from surface acres of land and subject to either a closed or electronic bid system.
For more information and the complete details on all the tracks of land up for auction this year, be sure to check out the CLO’s website, at clo.ok.gov or click over to our calendar page for a complete listing of this year's auction dates, times and locations.
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