The State of Mississippi owns over 640,000 acres of trust land known as "16th Section Land." Trustees manage land held in trust -- and 108 Mississippi public school districts serve as trustees for 16th Section Land, with the Mississippi Secretary of State serving as the supervising trustee. The allocation of 16th section property dates back to the Land Ordinance of 1785, which set aside section number 16 in each township for the use and benefit of public schools.
Basics of 16th Section Land
The 108 trustee school districts raise public education funds by leasing 16th Section Land, which is partitioned and classified for different uses. Classifications include agricultural, forestry, farming, hunting and fishing, recreational, residential, industrial and mining. The local school districts advertise the land through notices and newspapers -- and the highest bidder wins the lease. When renewing a lease, the land is appraised at fair market rental value. The lessee is responsible for paying the taxes as if the lessee owned the property.