Senator Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) formally introduced Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857 today, which would end the Common School Fund as we know it and end the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) loan program that benefits schools, towns, villages, technical colleges, CESAs and public library systems.
The following legislators signed on in support of this bill: Senators Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and David Craig (R-Big Bend) and Representatives Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield), Rob Brooks (R-Saukville), Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg), John Macco (R-De Pere), Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago), and Ron Tusler (R- Harrison).
It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection and the Assembly Committee on State Affairs.
Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857:
- Eliminates the requirement that schools spend Common School Fund disbursements on instructional materials, library books or school library computers/software. Schools would be able to spend CSF funds on any items they would like and those items would not need to be housed in the school library
- Eliminates BCPL’s authority to make loans. The interest on these loans currently goes into the Common School Fund.
- Under current law, the BCPL can delegate some investment authority to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), but SWIB can only invest in fixed income accounts. The bill would remove this restriction and allow SWIB to invest state trust fund dollars using their typical investment strategy.
Contact your state representative and state senator TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 713/Assembly Bill 857!
Here are some things you can say:
- Common School Fund stakeholders were not consulted in the development of this legislation, and we do not support these changes. We want to maintain the current structure that has been working well since the founding of our State in 1848..
- Over the past 10 years, the BCPL State Trust Fund Loan program has invested over $1 billion in communities throughout Wisconsin. Earnings from these loans are deposited into the Common School Fund. Ending the BCPL loan program would eliminate this important economic development funding from our communities and eliminate a major source of revenue for the Common School Fund.
- With school districts across the state facing increased budget constraints, distributions from the Common School Fund are often the only dollars available for school libraries to purchase informational materials including books, newspapers and periodicals, web-based resources, and computer hardware and software. This bill would remove the requirement that the Common School Fund be used for libraries, putting school library funding in jeopardy.
- The bill also gives the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) more authority to invest BCPL trust fund dollars. According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if SWIB had been managing the Common School Fund dollars during the financial crash of 2008, it would have suffered a devastating loss of between $195 million and $290 million. No funding would have been available for school libraries for several years following a loss of that magnitude.
How to Contact Your Legislators:
The first step in contacting your legislator is knowing who your legislator is. The easiest way to do this is the tool found on the Legislature’s home page, at http://legis.wisconsin.gov. In the right-hand side of that page is a link that says Find My Legislators! Type your address in the box below that link to get the names of your state representative and senator.
- Phone. You may leave a message for your legislator’s Capitol office or indicate your position on legislation through the toll free Legislative Hotline, at 1-800-362-9472.