A great asset of the State is its land which is held in trust for the school, university and for permanent improvements. The State owns 2,000,000 acres which, by law passed by the first State legislature, may not be sold for less than $5 per acre, and are actually being sold at a minimum price of $10. The accumulation of the funds received for land already sold amounts to $36288,569, which is invested under the direction of the State board of investment. The income derived from this investment is apportioned among the schools of the State according to their status (see Education). The State owns buildings worth $19,000,000.
Transportation.— Owing to the early settle ment of the Saint Croix and Mississippi valleys, the Twin Cities became the railroad centre of the State. Later Duluth developed in commer cial importance. A glance at the map shows two great wheel-like systems radiating from these centres, and so intersecting as to provide all parts of the State with transportation. Entering the Twin Cities through Wisconsin are the Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Sault Sainte Marie (Soo Line), two lines; the Chi sago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. On the west bank of the Mississippi the Chicago, Mil waukee and Saint Paul, two lines, Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, Chicago and Great Western, Minneapolis and Saint Louis and the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha. Westward from the Twin Cities run lines of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul, the Minneapolis and Saint Louis and Great North ern, and northwestward to the Red River Val ley and Manitoba, the Great Northern, North ern Pacific and Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Sault Sainte Marie. These last three systems, each with two lines, connect Duluth with the Twin Cities; and also put it within easy com munication with the Dakotas and Canada. Two short lines connect Duluth with the iron ranges, and the Canadian Northern gives it additional advantages for both Western and Eastern trade. The Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul, Great Northern and Northern Pacific are transcon tinental lines, and hence put Minnesota within reach of the great Western Territory with its rapidly increasing commerce and industry. Electric and other lines are developing the more closely populated districts. In all there are 42 companies listed in the report of the railroad and warehouse commission with a total mileage of 9,102, a capitalization of 1,509, 349,088, gross earnings of $121,821,203 and net earnings of $54,988,303. These companies in 1916 paid dividends from net earnings of $56, 997,194, and from surplus of $33,260,818. They paid to the State in gross earnings a total of $5,436,572. Their bonded indebtedness is $2,034,479,307; their total investment $4,159, 487,932.
Water transportation is due to become more of a factor in solving the commercial problem of the State now that the government high dam at Minneapolis is completed, making possible navigation on the Mississippi to that point. For satistics on river and lake trade see articles on SAM'? PAUL and DULUTH.
Under the direction of the State Highway Commission and with the aid of laws that take the building of roads from limited local juris diction the highways of the State are being greatly improved. The stone and gravel that are easily accessible are being used in road construction with the result that districts in the remote parts of the State are now reached by permanent roads. This is especially true of the northern part of the State. The legislature of 1919 adopted an amendment to be voted on in 1920 allowing the State to issue $10,000,000 a year to a total of $75,000,000, allowing counties to issue tip to $250,000. This promises to give the State $109,000,000 for roads within a few years.
Education.— With an annual income of over a million and a half dollars from the per manent school fund, Minnesota is able to en courage all of the local school districts to sus tain a high educational standard; at the same time care has been taken to conserve the in itiative of these districts by withholding State aid from all that do not meet certain require ments. An attendance of 100 days must be credited to each pupil counted in the number attending a school for a year on which the apportionment is based; a sanitary building properly equipped and teachers graduated from a normal course are other requirements for general aid. Special aid is given to schools that sustain normal courses, agricultural in struction, manual training and domestic science departments. One of the most recent and most effective movements in education is the consolidation of rural schools to provide for grading and more efficient teaching. In 1916 there were 139 such schools in the State, and the number is rapidly increasing. The schools are classified as either rural, consolidated, semi graded, graded and high. Districts are either common, independent or special, the last being a classification for cities such as Minneapolis. Common school districts are governed by the voters in mass meeting who elect and direct a board of three members how to administer the affairs outside of the detailed management of the school. The independent district is some what freer of control by the people, but cannot spend money for sites or buildings except as directed by vote. A consolidated district may be either common or independent.