School districts to share $30.1 million in library aid

Public school districts throughout the state will share $30.1 million in library aid paid April 29 from the Common School Fund, the only state funding specifically designated for the purchase of materials for school libraries.

Aid is based on the number of children between the ages of 4 and 20 living in each school district. This year’s school library aid payment was $24.71 per child for 1,218,203 children counted in the 2011-12 school census. Funding is down by $2.4 million from last year. The census total was down by 6,486 children as well. Districts must use Common School Fund library aid by June 30 for the purchase of books, media materials, or computer equipment that is housed in the school library. “Aid from the Common School Fund provides important support for school libraries, which are a proven resource that helps our students develop important skills and supports academic achievement,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Aid from the Common School Fund is often the only funding school libraries receive to purchase new materials.”

The Common School Fund was established by Article X of the Wisconsin Constitution as a permanent school trust fund. A majority of the fund’s principal is invested in loans to municipalities and school districts through the State Trust Fund Loan Program. This program provides loans for projects that include school repairs and improvements, local infrastructure and economic development, as well as capital equipment purchases. Funds distributed as library aid consist primarily of interest that is generated from those loans.

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) manages the Common School Fund and the State Trust Fund Loan Program. Board members are Secretary of State and Board Chairman Douglas La Follette, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, and Treasurer Kurt Schuller. Tia Nelson serves as executive secretary to the board.

“The BCPL has supported public education since the time of Wisconsin statehood and the signing of the State Constitution in 1848,” Nelson said. “We are proud to carry on this 165 year history and generate stable Common School Fund earnings for K-12 schools throughout the state.”

In Sheboygan County Plymouth received $81,044; Sheboygan Falls $59,770; Howards Grove $31,479; Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah $16,752; Kohler $17,271; Random Lake $34, 666; Cedar Grove-Belgium $36,396; Oostburg $37,409; and Sheboygan $315,627.

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