Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

Assets & Beneficiaries

The BCPL holds in trust both the remaining school trust lands and the funds that resulted from the sale of those lands dating back to Wisconsin’s early history. We manage these assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries: the state’s public schools and its former teacher colleges, which became part of the University of Wisconsin System in the 1970s.

Assets snapshot

For more information, download our most recent biennial report.

Beneficiaries

Wisconsin’s K-12 (“common”) schools are our largest direct beneficiary. Each spring, net earnings of the Common School Fund are distributed on a per-pupil basis to school libraries. These funds are used to purchase books and other media materials and often represent most, if not all, of the library budget in local school districts. This fund’s principal is invested—among other ways—in loans to school districts and municipalities to support public purpose projects including school repairs and improvements; local infrastructure projects like roads, town halls, airports, sewer systems and wastewater facilities, trucks, and emergency vehicles; and local economic development and downtown revitalization projects.

We are proud to make such a significant contribution to the state’s educational system and infrastructure.

But generating revenue is only the beginning of Trust stewardship. All Wisconsin citizens benefit from the agency’s responsible stewardship of School Trust Lands and investments, which promote education, economic development, and the environment.