PRESS RELEASE: Treasurer Godlewski visits Emerson Elementary, distributes 300k for La Crosse Schools


Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski
CONTACT: Julie Benkoske, or (608) 577-8991

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski visits Emerson Elementary, highlights $300K for La Crosse Schools

Godlewski met with students, faculty, and administrators at Emerson Elementary's school library to see the impact of over $300,000 distribution for books and technology to La Crosse public schools

LA CROSSE, Wis. — State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski visited Emerson Elementary School today, meeting with State Senator Brad Pfaff, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Engel, Principal Eric Check, faculty and students. The visit included a tour of the school library which receives library aid from the Common School Fund, which the State Treasurer oversees as the chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. 

In March, Godlewski announced the annual distribution of $39 million for public school libraries across Wisconsin — the largest regular distribution in BCPL history. La Crosse Schools received $311,155 in library aid, which can be spent on books and technology. 

“Whether books, magazines, hotspots or online databases, our students deserve these essential materials in our public school libraries to ensure they’re receiving the highest quality education we can give them,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “That’s why I’m so proud to oversee the investment of the Common School Fund and deliver this year’s record distribution for La Crosse schools and every Wisconsin school district.” 

State Treasurer Godlewski joined fifth graders in a library orientation game, which helped students discover where items were and get them thinking about what books they wanted to check out this year. The Common School Fund is a crucial source of revenue that enables school libraries to provide students with books and technology, greatly enhancing the educational experience and success of young people in every corner of the state. For 92% of school libraries, the Common School Funding is the only available source of funding.  

“Schools are the cornerstone for successful communities, and the investment we’re celebrating today will be beneficial for our students’ enrichment. The mission of the Common School Fund is to provide critical resources where they are needed most,” said State Senator Brad Pfaff. “There is no doubt that funding our kids’ education is a critical mission.”

"We are so thankful for Common School funds and what they do to support our school libraries," said School District of La Crosse Superintendent Dr. Aaron Engel. "Common School funds are the foundation upon which we have built a robust book collection for our students over the years. We have been able to use Common School funds to build a library collection that reflects our students' diverse identities and engages them in ways that lead to greater belonging in school. Our libraries, along with high-quality instruction, are crucial for developing lifelong readers and learners."

Emerson Elementary uses the Common School Fund to build its library collection. A small portion of the funds is spent replacing well-loved books. The bulk of funds are used to purchase books that reflect the student population (making sure all students can see themselves in books), increasing multicultural selections; books of high interest to students, and books to support social and emotional learning as well as books that support classroom curriculums.

Treasurer Godlewski with students         State Treasurer with La Crosse School Check


As Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), State Treasurer Godlewski oversees $1.2 billion in state trust funds, including the Common School Fund, which makes annual distributions that fund books and technology for every school district in the state. As part of her role as board chair, the State Treasurer has prioritized community investment and has integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations into the investment policy. One of her first actions as board chair was to roll back a climate change gag rule which prevented staff from discussing climate at how it impacted investments. 

In today’s low-interest-rate environment and with the uncertainty of the financial market, this level of distribution would not be possible if the Trust Fund remained invested solely in loans and bonds, as required under statute from 1848 through 2015. The updated investment strategy has led to the diversification of the Common School Fund that likely added $15 million to the 2021 distribution and will continue to pay dividends to Wisconsin schoolchildren for generations to come. In the last biennium, the BCPL has made $570 million in new portfolio investments, which includes $165 million for financing essential economic development, infrastructure, and other community projects and purchases in Wisconsin.

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