Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What is the Common School Fund?

Recently, the State of Wisconsin announced a release of funding for school libraries - $30.1 million dollars will be distributed to Wisconsin’s K-12 public schools – money which supports every public school library in the state. Each school district in the State will receive approximately $24 per child, enough to put a book in the hand of every student in the State.  

As one of the 426 school districts in the State, the School District of Janesville receives funds every year from the Common School Fund.  This Fund was established at the time of the State's founding in 1838 for the purposes of supporting and maintaining school libraries.  Since then, it has been nurtured and grown, so that today, it provides a legitimate source of funding for school libraries. 

Today, three sources of funds add to the Common School Fund - Fees, Fines, Forfeitures (Fe, Fi, Fo). Every time someone pays a fee or fine, or suffers a forfeiture, a portion of those dollars are added to the corpus of the Fund.  The Fund is loaned out to municipalities, schools, public libraries, etc., and the interest on those loans is what is distributed to schools this time of year.   Some years our allocation goes up and some years it goes down, as it is based on the interest earned, and the number of children we have in the District who are age 0 to 21.

We rely on these funds for a significant portion of our school library budget.   If you would like more information about the Common School Fund, you can go to the web at http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov, or contact our Public Information Officer, Brett Berg at bberg@janesville.k12.wi.us. 

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