Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: $32.1 million for Wisconsin’s public school libraries


Jonathan Berry

(608) 266-8369

WISCONSIN DELLS – Wisconsin’s K-12 public school libraries will receive $32.1 million, thanks to earnings from Common School Fund investments, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) announced today. Commissioner Doug La Follette, Secretary of State, presented Kurt Kiefer, Assistant 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. Board Chair Brad Schimel, Attorney General, and Commissioner Matt Adamczyk, State Treasurer, were unable to attend.

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“It is a joy to have the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands visit the WEMTA’s annual conference to deliver the ceremonial Common School Fund check to the Department of Public Instruction and, in turn, to our members. For our members, it is a way to thank both organizations for their work in support of Wisconsin’s students. WEMTA extends a special thanks to the BCPL and their staff for their sound management of the Common School Fund, which is as old as our state,” said Kim Bannigan, WEMTA President.

“School librarians use the funds to provide myriad learning opportunities for students. It might be books, but it might also be technology. For many WEMTA members and public school libraries, the Common School Fund is the sole source of funding, so a chance to connect with those who make it possible is an essential part of our conference. We all share the goal of wanting the very best for Wisconsin’s students,” Ms. Bannigan said.

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands was established in 1848 by Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution to manage assets of the Common School Fund. This permanent endowment was created in the Constitution to benefit public education. The BCPL generates earnings for the Common School Fund by investing in state and municipal bonds and State Trust Funds that finance community projects across the state.

Board Chair Schimel said, “BCPL investments provide support for community projects throughout Wisconsin including economic development, public infrastructure, school building and improvements, and the purchase of capital equipment and vehicles. Many of these expenditures provide law enforcement personnel and first responders with the equipment needed to keep their communities safe. Earnings from these investments continue to benefit public schools for many generations after the founding fathers of Wisconsin created this program.”

In an era of historically low interest rates, BCPL commissioners are proud to have maintained strong earnings distributions.