$32.5 Million for Wisconsin’s Public Schools
I had the pleasure of spending the morning with Attorney General JB Van Hollen, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette and Tia Nelson, the Executive Director of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to announce $32.5 million from the Common School Fund will be distributed to every school district in the state! That’s $26 per child!
Funds for library aid distribution consist primarily of interest generated on loans provided through the BCPL State Trust Fund Loan Program. This program provides loans to municipalities and school districts for projects including economic development, school repairs and improvements, local infrastructure, and capital equipment and vehicles.
The Common School Fund was established in Article X of the State Constitution by Wisconsin’s founding fathers as a permanent school trust fund. The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands administers both the Common School Fund and the BCPL State Trust Fund Loan Program.
The Board has provided $168.4 million in public school library aid over the last five years. School librarians in each district use the money to purchase books, newspapers and periodicals, computer hardware and software, web-based resources, and other library materials.
Over $500 million is invested in communities across the state through the State Trust Fund Loan Program. In addition, over $204 million is invested in state and municipal general obligation bonds.
Here are my statements from the event at the State Capitol:
This is one of the best parts of my job – not only do I get to give people back money they lost or didn’t even know they had through Unclaimed Property , my office supports public schools by turning over millions of dollars each year.
The Common School Fund is as old as the Great State of Wisconsin. The fund, established in 1848 to support public education, is managed completely without tax payer dollars. It’s written into the State Constitution!
My office is proud to turn over proceeds from the interest on unclaimed property over to the Common School fund every single year. In the past year, The State Treasurer’s Office forwarded $12.5 million to the fund – that the second largest addition to the Common School Fund ever. When I go out and talk to people about unclaimed property I am always asked what happens with the interest on all the money we are holding. Right now, we have about $410 million dollars in unclaimed property waiting to be claimed. When I tell them it goes to all school districts to be used by the school libraries, they are relieved and thrilled that the state is using these funds for such a great purpose.
It’s an honor to be here with my fellow commissioners as we forward this money to the Common School Fund and onto all Wisconsin school children.