Contact: Board of Commissioners of Public Lands
Jonathan B. Barry, Executive Secretary
(608) 266-8369

WISCONSIN DELLS – Wisconsin’s K-12 public school libraries will receive $35.7 million thanks to earnings from Common School Fund investments, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) announced today.  BCPL board members Attorney General Brad Schimel and Secretary of State Doug La Follette presented Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, with a ceremonial check at the Wisconsin Educational & Media Technology Association’s (WEMTA) annual conference at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.  BCPL board member Matt Adamczyk, State Treasurer, was not able to attend.

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“With school districts facing increased budget constraints, a large majority of school libraries and WEMTA members rely on the Common School Fund distributions as their sole funding source for the purchase of informational materials, including books, newspapers and periodicals, web-based and technology resources,” said Heidi Catlin, WEMTA President. “WEMTA continues to advocate to protect these funds, and this is an opportunity for our members to thank and recognize those who work hard to protect and manage these funds as envisioned by our founding fathers.”

Established in 1848 by Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution, BCPL was created to manage assets of the Common School Fund.  This permanent endowment was initially funded from the sale of Federal lands granted to Wisconsin on becoming a state, and the Constitution specifically dedicated this fund for the benefit of public education.

“Wisconsin’s founding fathers created this program generations ago, and wisely specified that the principal of the fund could never be spent and all the earnings from investments be dedicated to the benefit of public education. Today, BCPL investments include equities, venture capital investments, state, municipal and federal bonds and, through the State Trust Fund Loan Program, support for community projects throughout Wisconsin,” said Board Chairman Schimel.  “Trust Fund loans to Wisconsin local governments and school districts are made for public infrastructure projects, economic development initiatives, school buildings and improvements and the purchase of capital equipment, vehicles and first responder equipment. A remarkable feature of the Trust Fund loan program is that the interest paid by schools and municipalities comes right back to their communities in the form of support for public school libraries.”

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