La Crosse schools receive state funding for library improvements

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - La Crosse public schools will be receiving library upgrades thanks to a record round of state funding.

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands announced in March that $39 million from its Common School Fund would be distributed across the state.

The chair of the board is State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who oversaw the largest distribution since the fund was established in 1848.

“We updated policies to make sure that we would have quality distributions, and even during a pandemic when people were worried about the economy, we are still providing a record distribution to ensure that this fund is resilient,” Godlewski said.

Godlewski visited Emerson Elementary in La Crosse on Wednesday to personally award the School District of La Crosse its allocation of funds.

La Crosse will be receiving $311,155, money that Superintendent Dr. Aaron Engel says can be used to fill whatever library needs that schools identify.

“These funds allow us to build out our libraries, to provide resources that meet our kids needs, as well as iPads and hotspots and other things that can really help kids access education,” Engel detailed.

Engel adds that since the funds are coming from the state, library support is one less area that the district needs to rely on the community for help.

“Because it’s dedicated to school libraries, it allows us to really focus that money on that resource instead of having to worry about where it’s going to come from local tax revenues,” Engel said.

Godlewski hopes the Common School Fund will continue filling in gaps for schools in Wisconsin that experience financial difficulties.

“Wisconsin public schools are underfunded, we know that, whether we look at the buildings that our kids are in, to not having enough resources to pay our teachers good salaries, to even providing resources for technology,” Godlewski said. “What we have been focusing on is making sure that the Common School Fund is doing all it can to help our public school libraries.”

The Common School Fund is the only available source of funding for 92% of school libraries in the state.

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