Nebraska State Constitution Article VII-6

Article VII-6


Educational lands; management; Board of Educational Lands and Funds; members; appointment; sale of lands.

No lands now owned or hereafter acquired by the state for educational purposes shall be sold except at public auction under such conditions as the Legislature shall provide. The general management of all lands set apart for educational purposes shall be vested, under the direction of the Legislature, in a board of five members to be known as the Board of Educational Lands and Funds. The members shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to the approval of the Legislature, with such qualifications and for such terms and compensation as the Legislature may provide.



1. Powers of Legislature

2. Powers of board

3. State as trustee

4. Miscellaneous

1. Powers of Legislature

This section authorizes Legislature to direct sale of school lands. State ex rel. Belker v. Board of Educational Lands & Funds, 185 Neb. 270, 175 N.W.2d 63 (1970).

Legislature has no power to make a grant in fee of, or an easement over, public school lands without compensation. State ex rel. Johnson v. Central Nebraska Public Power & Irr. Dist., 143 Neb. 153, 8 N.W.2d 841 (1943).

Legislature cannot pass law providing for disposition of school lands otherwise than as provided by Constitution. State v. Tanner, 73 Neb. 104, 102 N.W. 235 (1905).

2. Powers of board

Board of Educational Lands and Funds has control and management of school lands. State v. Kidder, 173 Neb. 130, 112 N.W.2d 759 (1962); State v. Cooley, 156 Neb. 330, 56 N.W.2d 129 (1952); State v. Gardner, 156 Neb. 326, 56 N.W.2d 135 (1952).

While there has been change in composition of board, there has been no change in its functions since 1875. State ex rel. Bottcher v. Bartling, 149 Neb. 491, 31 N.W.2d 422 (1948).

Board of Commissioners, under direction of Legislature and subject to terms imposed by it, has power to lease school lands. State v. Platte Valley P. P. & I. Dist., 147 Neb. 289, 23 N.W.2d 300 (1946).

Board is by law in charge of and responsible for the investment of school funds. State v. Bass, 131 Neb. 592, 269 N.W. 68 (1936).

Board of Educational Lands and Funds has executive power over the sale, leasing and general management of school lands under legislative direction. Briggs v. Neville, 103 Neb. 1, 170 N.W. 188 (1918); Fawn Lake Ranch Co. v. Cumbow, 102 Neb. 288, 167 N.W. 75 (1918).

Board of Educational Lands and Funds may, in exercise of reasonable discretion, reject appraisement if it appears too low. State ex rel. Rutledge v. Eaton, 78 Neb. 202, 110 N.W. 709 (1907).

Sole power to handle permanent school funds of state is lodged with board. State ex rel. Crounse v. Bartley, 40 Neb. 298, 58 N.W. 966 (1894).

Board has no jurisdiction or control over disposition of so-called saline lands of state. McMurtry v. Engelhardt, 5 Neb. Unof. 271, 98 N.W. 40 (1904).

3. State as trustee

Title to school lands was vested in state upon express trust for support of common schools. State ex rel. Ebke v. Board of Educational Lands & Funds, 159 Neb. 79, 65 N.W.2d 392 (1954).

The state as trustee is without power to bestow a special benefit upon any person or corporation, public or private, at the expense of the cestui que trust, the public school system of the state. State v. Platte Valley Public Power & Irr. Dist., 143 Neb. 661, 10 N.W.2d 631 (1943).

Since state, and not the board or its individual members, is trustee of school fund, suit may not be brought against the board and its individual members for an accounting by a taxpayer, since the suit is essentially one against the state. State ex rel. Walker v. Board of Commissioners for Educational Lands & Funds, 141 Neb. 172, 3 N.W.2d 196 (1942).

4. Miscellaneous

Prior to 1940 amendment, Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, as statutory officer, had duties to perform. Swanson v. State, 132 Neb. 82, 271 N.W. 264 (1937).

Where board is created by law, no one member having greater power than every other member, board can act only by majority vote. Follmer v. State, 94 Neb. 217, 142 N.W. 908 (1913).