103 local school districts manage or receive income from 16th section public school trust lands. The local school boards serve as trustees of 16th section lands and are responsible for day to day management of the lands and leasing. The Secretary of State serves as supervisory trustee working with the local school districts to insure that the lands are managed well and that the revenue from leasing is maximized.

16th section lands are classified according to use for leasing:

  • Agriculture
  • Catfish farming
  • Commercial
  • Farm residential
  • Hunting and Fishing (Forest Lands)
  • Industrial
  • Other
  • Recreational
  • Residential

Hunting and fishing leases, agricultural leases and mineral leases are leased by competitive bid.

All other classes of 16th section lands are leased upon application. Rent for leases granted upon application is set at the fair market rental of the land based on appraisal. Rents must be adjusted at least every 10 years during the term.

The leasing process is initiated in the local school district. Lease terms are submitted to the Secretary of State for his approval and signature prior to execution by the school district and the tenant.​