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California School Land Bank Act

It is in the best interest of the state that school lands be managed as a revenue source

By Chris Micheli, July 31, 2022 3:16 pm

California has numerous formal acts in statute. Public Resources Code Division 7.7, Chapter 1 provides the School Land Bank Act, which is contained in Sections 8700 to 8716. Chapter 1 was added in 2011 by Chapter 485. Section 8700 names the act.

Section 8701 sets forth six legislative findings and declarations, including that it is essential that all remaining school lands and attendant interests be managed and enhanced to provide an economic base for support of the public school system. It is in the best interest of the state that school lands be managed as a revenue source and it is the intent of the Legislature that fair market value be a primary criterion in determining if proposed uses or dispositions of land should be approved.

Section 8702 provides definitions for the following term: “commission”; “fund”; “school land”; and, “trustee.” Section 8703 provides that acquisitions may be made by negotiated agreement with, or purchase from, the owners of the outstanding interests. Nothing in this division confers any authority to exercise the power of eminent domain for the purposes of this division, although that power is statutorily vested in the commission.

Section 8704 requires a trustee to make all reasonable attempts to acquire the mineral and other subsurface rights in any acquisition pursuant to this division. If the trustee is unable to acquire the mineral and other subsurface rights, the trustee may purchase real property upon the trustee expressly finding that the benefits to be derived from the acquisition are substantial and that acquisition of the property without the subsurface rights is in the best interests of the state for the purposes set forth in this division.

Section 8705 provides the trustee has the exclusive jurisdiction and authority to administer the fund and the interest in real property acquired pursuant to this division, including the selection, acquisition, and conveyance of real property by the trustee as provided in this division.

Section 8706 requires the state, in its sovereign capacity, to accept any conveyance, and the land must thereafter be held by the state as land of the legal character of school lands subject to the school land trust under the jurisdiction of the commission. Section 8707 requires the commission to accept the conveyances on the part of the state and authorize their acknowledgment and recordation.

Section 8708 requires moneys in the fund to be deposited in the Pooled Money Investment Fund and the interest deposited in the fund. Section 8709 provides that, in addition to the purchase price to be paid, the costs and expenses attributable to the acquisition may be paid from the fund. Section 8709.5 provides that expenses attributable to management and remediation efforts on state school lands are payable from the fund.

Section 8710 specifies that an action under this chapter is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, the Subdivision Map Act, or the Property Acquisition Law. Section 8711 creates in the State Treasury the School Land Bank Fund. Section 8712 provides that the trustee may acquire real property or any interest in real property with the objective of facilitating management of school lands for the purpose of generating revenue.

Section 8713 requires the trustee to act only at an open, scheduled public meeting. Section 8715 provides that the provisions of this division are not intended as exclusive, and cannot restrict the commission in otherwise meeting any other responsibilities and jurisdiction the commission presently has by law. Section 8716 provides that the trustee may accept gifts of real property or money for the purposes of this division.

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