SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah School Land Trust program will distribute $29 million to Utah schools for the 2012-13 school year, the State Office of Education announced Tuesday.

The distribution is the program's largest since its creation in 2001. According to the School Land Trust, millions of acres of land — roughly equal in size to the state of Connecticut — are held in trust to support Utah schools.

“This is money that is truly locally controlled,” Margaret Bird, director of the School Children’s Trust, said in a prepared statement. “Parents, teachers and principals work together to help direct this money to improve academic excellence in the areas of greatest academic need, at every school in the state.”

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Trust lands are managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA, with revenue coming from natural gas, coal, oil, real estate development and other surface uses, according to the State Office of Education. Net revenues are deposited in the permanent State School Fund for investment, with interest and dividends being distributed to Utah schools.

"It is our vision to become an increasingly important source of revenue for Utah’s schools," SITLA director Kevin Carter said. "This record distribution shows that we are doing just that.”