The Commissioners of the Land Office mission statement says it all: “Managing Assets to Support Education.” It is the only mission for the Land Office and one that we strive to fulfill every day. In fiscal year 2016, the Land Office distributed more than $102 million to common (K-12) schools. Common schools do not have any restrictions on how the Land Office dollars are used and may be used for everything from teachers’ salaries to bus maintenance and expense.
The distribution of common school funds are done on a per capita basis. The Department of Education provides the Land Office with the average daily attendance (ADA) for each school district in the state. The dollars are then distributed by the Land Office on a monthly basis based on those numbers.
In fiscal year 2016, the Land Office distributed more than $32 million to higher education beneficiaries. Higher education is required to use the funds for capital improvements, which could include anything from maintenance to funding for new buildings or dormitories. You can see the benefits of that money in areas such as the Forensic Science facilities at the University of Central Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Constitution and statutes determine the colleges and universities that receive funds. The money distributed is based on the lands that were set aside for that school at statehood.