School Land Suit

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Alabama schools will receive up to $41 million this month from a lawsuit settlement involving historic land deals, nearly $16 million more than what they were initially promised in a previous court order.

The agreement resolves a 2002 lawsuit filed by the Covington County school board to prevent then-Governor Don Siegelman from using the money, accumulated over the years through sales, leases, timber-cutting and mineral income on land designated for local schools, to ease school budget cuts.

The money will go to 98 of Alabama's systems who are owed money from land leases or interest earned on land sales, based on a 1785 federal land ordinance that forced states to set aside money for education spending.

The schools systems that are the biggest winners in the settlement are: Covington County Schools, Jefferson County Schools, Colbert County Schools, Calhoun County Schools and Marion County Schools.

The smallest amount, 72 cents, goes to Mobile County Schools.