State of Wisconsin
Board of Commissioners
Who we are and what we do
The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), Wisconsin’s oldest state
agency, is comprised of Secretary of State Douglas La Follette, State Treasurer
Kurt Schuller, and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. We proudly carry on the
pioneering commitment of our state’s early leaders to a constitutionally
protected form of public education financing that originated with millions of
acres of land granted by the federal government.
Nearly all of the School Trust Lands were sold over 100 years ago. The
proceeds were used to establish the School
Trust Funds, which continue to grow with revenue from unclaimed property,
clear proceeds of civil and criminal fees, fines and forfeitures, and timber
production on School Trust Lands.
We manage these Funds and the remaining School
Trust Lands for the benefit of public school libraries, the University of
Wisconsin, and the state’s citizens. See our Common
School Fund Brochure and our Normal
School Fund Brochure for details.
We also maintain a rich archive of historical
records related to the agency’s past and present land holdings.
We do all of this with only ten full-time employees and not one penny of
general-purpose tax revenue.
How you benefit
This small state agency is an integral part of Wisconsin’s history and
economy. Our financial investments, land management practices, and archive
benefit every citizen of the state.
- We generate
investment income for distribution as public school library aid— a total
of $30.1 million during fiscal year 2013. See what your school
received by clicking here.
- We loan
money to municipalities and school districts for public purpose
projects— nearly $122 million approved during that same time
- We contribute to Wisconsin’s sustainable
timber economy, combat forest fragmentation, protect unique natural areas,
and secure public access to large blocks of northern forests.
- We manage an extensive
archive consulted by land owners, surveyors, researchers, and others
interested in this rich source of historical information about the state’s land
and early settlers.
We are grateful for this opportunity to serve as stewards of the lands,
moneys, and records we hold in trust for all of Wisconsin’s