SCOUTING YESTERDAY: Gen. Beadle's School & Public Lands proposal impresses Congress
This week in South Dakota history: Oct. 25-31
South Dakota public schools will receive an increase in funding from the Public School Lands Fund, according to The Daily Plainsman. The increase, announced Oct. 26, 1948, would bring funding from $5.25 to $6 per student to reflect the increased revenue of $120,000 received by the state.
The Office of the Commissioner of School and Public Lands and the fund were established in 1889 when Congress accepted South Dakota’s constitution and granted over 3.5 million acres to the state. Gen. William Henry Harrison Beadle drafted the provision in 1885, which would become Article VIII of the state Constitution.
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It was Beadle’s intention that the lands and fund would be a resource for future generations. Impressed by Beadle’s idea, Congress would require similar provisions for statehood from North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Wyoming. South Dakota honors Beadle’s legacy, with the general representing the state in the National Statuary Hall at the nation’s Capitol.
Setting aside land sections 16 and 36, totaling 1,280 acres, each township would have state-owned land placed in the commissioner’s management, according to the office’s website. This would amount to approximately one-eighteenth of all land in the state. If those sections had already been sold, other equal amounts of land would be used in their place.
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