Wisconsin's Common School Fund

2014-15 COMMON SCHOOL FUND DISTRIBUTION (LIBRARY AID):  Common School Fund distributions for the 2014-15 school year will be $29.05 (rounded) per census student. This figure is based upon the BCPL estimate of $35.5 million being available for payment as of April 15, 2015.  This amount is a conservative estimate that DPI is confident will be distributed, but the actual figure is not guaranteed.  Payments to districts will be made on Monday, April 27, 2015. 

Eligible purchases must be made in consultation with the school librarian/library media specialist and must support the school library media program.  If you have any questions regarding school library purchases that meet the requirements of the Common School Fund, see What Can Be Purchased (Updated October 8, 2014) or contact the School Library Media Consultant, Nancy.Anderson@dpi.wi.gov (608) 224-5383.

School Districts receive an annual distribution of earnings from the Common School Fund.  These funds (commonly known as Library Aid) are used to purchase library books and other instructional materials. Managed by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), the Common School Fund was established by the Wisconsin Constitution in 1848 with the granting of about 1.5 million acres of land for educational purposes.  The vast majority of these lands were sold to create the principal for a permanent school fund, with the earnings to be exclusively used to support and maintain common schools (now known as K-12 public schools) and “the purchase of suitable libraries and apparatus therefor.”  The Wisconsin Constitution also provided for growth of Common School Fund principal through the addition of “clear proceeds” of all fines, fees, and forfeitures, including unclaimed property.

The BCPL board is comprised of State Attorney General Brad D. Schimel, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, and Secretary of State Douglas La Follette.  Together they manage the Common School Fund which today holds approximately $955 million in financial assets and about 5,600 remaining acres of trust lands.  The Board invests the trust fund assets with the goal of providing a long term stable source of public school library funding.  The primary investment vehicle is the BCPL State Trust Fund Loan Program, which loans money to local communities for public purpose projects including: economic development, school repairs and improvements, local infrastructure and utility projects, and capital equipment and vehicle purchases.  The interest earned on these loans and other investments provide the funds distributed to School Districts as Library Aid.  Additional information about BCPL and the Common School Fund may be found at bcpl.wisconsin.gov.          -        February 2, 2015

Library Aid Amounts Current Year and Prior Year Data


If you have any questions regarding school library purchases that meet the requirements of the Common School Fund, contact the School Library Media Consultant, Nancy.Anderson@dpi.wi.gov (608) 224-5383 or Director of Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning, Martha.Berninger@dpi.wi.gov (608) 224-6161.

If you have any questions regarding school library aid contact Carey Bradley, School Finance Consultant, Carey.Bradley@dpi.wi.gov, or by telephone at: (608) 267-3752.

For questions about this information, contact dpifin@dpi.wi.gov (608) 267-9114, Martha Berninger (608) 224-6161