The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) chaired by Treasurer Sarah Godlewski approved over $14 million in financing to Wisconsin communities across nine counties.
From the northernmost corners of the state, such as the Town of Superior, which will be building a new fire hall with $1.8 million, to the coast of Lake Michigan in the City of Port Washington, which is financing a business development loan with $150,000; the BCPL is providing the funds necessary to support a variety of initiatives.
The largest of the 11 loans approved July 2 is to finance referendum projects for the Verona Area School District that is worth over $6 million. Additionally, the Town of Lawrence in Brown County will be financing an infrastructure project for almost $4 million.
In addition to business financing and infrastructure improvements, BCPL is providing financing for water and sewage projects that our communities need. In the Village of Brandon they will now be able to fund a park sanitary sewer relay worth $115,000, and in the Village of Whiting they can install a new water service for $250,000.
By investing in community projects throughout the state through the State Trust Fund Loan Program, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands generates earnings for the Common School Fund that are distributed annually to public school libraries. These monies are the sole source of state funding for public school libraries. For many school districts this is the only money available to them for library materials including books, newspapers and periodicals, web-based resources, and computer hardware and software.
“BCPL's state trust fund loan program is the only initiative in the country that provides this type of financing for projects that serve a public purpose for any municipality or school district in our state,” said Godlewski. She continued, “It is a top priority of mine to ensure that the investments we make through this unique fund are sound and produce the returns we need to distribute our annual funding for every single public school library across the state.”
2019 public school library funding
In April, Godlewski presented the 2019 distribution of the Common School Fund to State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. The Common School Fund will provide $36.2 million to Wisconsin public schools.
The School District of Milton received $151,601.
Established in 1848 in the Wisconsin Constitution, the Common School Fund is the state’s permanent endowment that benefits public education. To date, the fund is worth over $1 billion. Wisconsin is the only state in the country that has a fund dedicated to resourcing public school libraries.
Godlewski shared her goals for the Common School Fund which included increasing financial returns through win-win investment strategies, optimizing the agency’s land base to provide additional revenue streams, and promoting the use and visibility of the State Trust Fund Loan program.
Godlewski continued, “As a graduate of Wisconsin public schools and the daughter of two school teachers, it’s an honor to lead such an important agency. I’m committed to public schools and believe our kids are most successful when they have the resources necessary to learn and grow.”
The Board of Commissioner of Public Lands (BCPL) operates entirely on program revenue, without taxpayer money, and distributes more than 96 cents of every dollar of interest earned on BCPL State Trust Fund investments to Wisconsin’s public schools.
A list of 2019 library aid received by each public school district is available at: