Godlewski meets with students, faculty, and administrators to see the impact of over $325,000 for books and technology for school libraries in the Wausau School District
WAUSAU, Wis. — State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski visited John Muir Middle School today, meeting with students, teachers, and administrators of the Wausau School District. The visit included a tour of the school’s library that receives aid from the Common School Fund, which the State Treasurer oversees as the chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

In March, Godlewski announced the annual distribution of $39 million for public school libraries across Wisconsin — the largest regular distribution in BCPL history. Wausau Schools received $325,409 in library aid, which can be spent on books and technology.

“Educators, parents, and kids have faced enormous challenges since the pandemic,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “As the product of Wisconsin public schools and the daughter of two teachers, I’m honored that I’m able to help make these vital resources possible as chair of the BCPL. Whether it’s helping our libraries tackle the digital divide with iPads and hotspots or helping restock their most loved books, I know our public schools will put these funds to great use and ensure every student in Wisconsin receives the high-quality education they deserve.”

The Common School Fund is a crucial source of revenue that enables school libraries to provide students with books and technology, greatly enhancing the educational experience and success of young people in every corner of the state. For 92% of school libraries, the Common School Funding is the only available source of funding. Earnings from the loan program and other investments are distributed annually to every public school district as the sole state aid for the purchase of library media and resources.

“The Wausau School District is grateful for the more than $325,000 it received from State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski this year. Thanks to that major distribution out of the Common School Fund, we’re able to enhance our 20 libraries by funding online databases, purchasing print and e-resources, not to mention, creating more maker spaces that give students hands-on learning opportunities in things like coding, virtual reality, and 3D printing. By funding those areas, we’re able to take learning to a whole new level,” said Jon Euting, Director of Technology and Media Services for the Wausau School District.

“State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski is helping our community address the needs of our city’s youngest residents,” said Mayor Katie Rosenberg. “The pandemic exacerbated challenges for many of our community’s students and I’m proud that she’s working to meet the changing needs of Wausau kids.”

State Treasurer Godlewski delivers Common School Fund Check to John Muir Middle School in Wausau  State Treasurer Godlewski visits with students at John Muir Middle School in Wausau.

Background

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), Chaired by State Treasurer Godlewski and including Attorney General Josh Kaul and Secretary of State Doug La Follette oversees $1.2 billion in state trust funds. This includes the Common School Fund, which makes annual distributions that fund books and technology for every school district in the state. As part of her role as board chair, the State Treasurer has prioritized community investment and has integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations into the investment policy. One of her first actions as board chair was to roll back a climate change gag rule which prevented staff from discussing climate change and how it impacted investments.

In today’s low-interest-rate environment and with the uncertainty of the financial market, this level of distribution would not be possible if the Trust Fund remained invested solely in loans and bonds, as required under statute from 1848 through 2015. The updated investment strategy has led to the diversification of the Common School Fund that likely added $15 million to the 2021 distribution and will continue to pay dividends to Wisconsin schoolchildren for generations to come. In the last biennium, the BCPL has made $570 million in new portfolio investments, which includes $165 million for financing essential economic development, infrastructure, and other community projects and purchases in Wisconsin.

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