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[ Budget Requests ] [ Equipment ] [ Budget Codes ] [ Vendors

The resource section of this web contains a budget info and links page for more detailed information.  Money for school library media and technology programs can come from several sources:

bulletCommon School Fund.  Article X, section 2 of the Wisconsin State Constitution created the Common School Fund.   Income from interest on money loaned for school building projects is to be spent library books and other instructional materials for school libraries. Over the past few years, some of this money was moved to the TEACH fund, but after one biennium, the funds were returned to purchase library materials.

If the budget passes on time, each school district should be sent a check in January.  The amount is figured on the total number of children between 4 and 20 in the district on the preceding June 30.  The total amount in the fund on December 1 is divided among the districts in proportion to the number of children in the count. The amount changes from year to year based on the amount in the account:
bulletIn 2003-2004, the amount rose to $15.98 per student.
bulletIn 2002-2003, the amount dropped to $13.87 per student.
bulletIn 2001-2002, the amount was $19.13 per student.
bulletIn 2000-2001 the amount was $17.68 per student. 
bulletIn 1999-2000, the amount was about  $22.00 per student, almost double the previous year's amount. 

The money goes to the district, but there is not a requirement that it be divided equitably among the schools in the district.  Check the DPI website for a list of the amount each district received.

This money is to be spent only in the following budget categories:

bulletAudiovisual materials (431)
bulletLibrary books (432)
bulletNewspapers (433)
bulletPeriodicals (434)
bulletProgrammed software (435)
bulletMicrofilm (438)
bulletReference books (439)

Common School Funds are not to be spent for textbooks, materials housed in one classroom or used for only one curriculum area, class sets of books, library automation software, or site licenses.

The amount delegated to each district is published each January in Channel DLS and on the DPI website.

Other state funded projects

bulletTEACH.  The functions of TEACH were moved to the Department of Administration in August 2003. TEACH will still offer the Telecommunications Access Program as well as continue to administer the Statewide E-rate Consortium Application, but no. new educational technology block grants, wiring loans, or teacher training grants will be awarded. Existing wiring loans and teacher training grants will continue to be tracked and reported on through project completion. Previous programs include:
bulletInfrastructure Financial Assistance (wiring loans) (approximately $100 million for schools and $10 million for public libraries in 1999-2001) for networking school and public library buildings.  Only half must be repaid.
bulletTelecommunications Access for T1 data line at $100 per month or DS3 line for video at $250 per month.  Generally one per district funded, except for districts with multiple high schools.  Also available to public libraries.  (over $12 million from universal services fund in 1999-2001)
bulletFull text databases of periodicals and newspapers available to schools, libraries, and citizens of Wisconsin. The number of full text resources has increased five times since start of this program.
bulletOther examples include UW System PK-16 Technology Initiative, WASDI academies, ECB's Mathline and Scienceline, and Teaching through Technology.  CESAs also offer numerous academies and other professional development activities. For other sources of funding in the state, see Wisconsin Grants and Financial Assistance
bulletLocal property taxes
bulletThis is less of a factor in Wisconsin than in many states as the Common School Fund is intended to decrease the disparity among rich and poor districts.  There is currently a lawsuit in the courts challenging these assumptions.
bulletSpecial bonds / referendums
bulletDistricts may choose to ask the taxpayers to approve a referendum for special funds for a building program or a large technology purchase.  In recent years, these have not faired particularly well in many local districts.
bulletFederal funds or grants
bulletThese programs could be block grants or competitive grant proposals.
bulletThe Technology Literacy Challenge Fund was one federal program, administered through the state, that  funded technology-related expenses, especially professional development, in the schools.  For 1999-2000, $6,900,000 was budgeted. In 2000-2001, approximately $6,142,000 was awarded to school districts.  Both individual districts and consortia were eligible.  Internet filtering software was required in funded districts. As of this spring 2002, TLCF was folded into the EETT funds. Check the DPI webpage for more information on this funding as it comes available. It appears that it will go to districts with large number of Title I students or consortia including such schools.
bulletEnhancing Education Through Technology (Ed Tech) Program is administered through DPI to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in schools. It is also designed to ensure that every student is technologically literate by the end of eighth grade, and to encourage the effective integration of technology with teacher training and curriculum development to establish successful research-based instructional methods. Individual schools and consortia where at least one partner has an 11% poverty rate are eligible to apply. These EdTech grants now replace the TLCF grants.
bulletE-rate (Universal Service Fund) is an example of a federal program supported through funds from the telecommunications companies that is available to schools for connecting to the internet.
bulletOther examples that may be used for technology include Goals 2000, Eisenhower, Carl Perkins, IASA Title VI, and IDEA.
bulletPrivate foundations or parent groups
bulletFund raisers (e.g., book fairs)
bulletAdditional alternative sources of funds and resources:
bulletRegional services such as CESAs
bulletCooperative arrangements and purchasing agreements
bulletResource sharing and joint projects
bulletCommunity resource

NOTE: Many of these state and federal funding sources require that the district have a certified technology plan and the federal programs will require that the district follows the requirements set out in the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood CIPA including the installation of a technology protection measure (i.e., filtering software), developing an Internet Safety Policy in the district, and holding a public hearing on this policy.

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Budget Requests

When creating a budget, take into account long-term goals, new technologies, any changes in school population, inflation, curricular changes, the speed of obsolesce for different materials and hardware, and the replacement cycle for items. Ideally, look for flexibility to acquire new formats, spread expenditures over several years, use rental or leasing options, phase in equipment and new systems over time, carry over funds from year to year, and negotiate installment plans, but this will not alway be possible  Ultimately, budgets must reflect constraints and  program needs.

Be prepared to justify a budget.  A school principal or superintendent determines what proportion of the Common School Fund is yours and may or may not add additional funds for library materials, supplies, software, and equipment.   This is often referred to as a lump sum budget.  

Other districts require a budget for materials each year that demonstrates how the money will support the libary media program.  Relate the library budget to the specific needs of your students, teachers, and curriculum.

Most schools will ask for a line item budget that will designate funds for different types of materials and other expenses.  While the Common School Fund may be spent for specific materials, there may be many other items required  for your program:

bulletComputer and a.v. equipment 
bulletComputer supplies such as printer cartridges and blank disks
bulletA.V. supplies such as bulbs, transparencies, and markers
bulletOther supplies such as paper, mending tape, plastic book jackets
bulletLicenses for software
bulletMaintenance agreements
bulletRental fees
bulletStaff development
bulletPersonnel costs
bulletPhone charge

A budget is more likely to be supported it it reflects the efforts of a library committee composed of interested teachers and/or other stakeholders.  

Budgeting in a school is generally a zero sum game -- money that goes one place is taken away from another place.  Strive to serve the entire school population and build support base.  Emphasize meeting the library and school mission when justifying budget requests.

Doug Johnson in The Indispensable Librarian: Surviving (and Thriving) in School Media Centers in the Information Age (p. 109),  offers questions that budget committees or administrators should be asking about budget requests.  How would you answer these about your budget?

bulletWhat programs teach the skills which will be vital to tomorrow's citizens?
bulletWhat programs, skills, and attributes does your community believe are important?
bulletHow many teachers and students will benefit from a particular spending decision?
bulletAre there other sources of funds for activities which could be considered "nonessential?"
bulletHow might a budget decision affect the school's climate?
bulletIs there research to support the effectiveness of a program or specific spending decision?
bulletHow much budgeting is being done out of respect for sentiment or tradition?

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Equipment Purchasing

Computer and audiovisual equipment is very expensive and needs to be maintained, upgraded, and/or replaced on a regular cycle.    While slide projectors could last 20 years only an occasional bulb replacement, computers that are over 4 years old are fast becoming obsolete and unable to run new software.  Many schools have  been caught in the bind of wanting to upgrade their online catalog but finding their computers are not powerful enough to run the new system.

This is called a capital expense as it often is not part of your normal library budget.  Generally, items over a certain price, such as $500, and not consumable are considered capital purchases and require a special purchasing process and long term planning.  Often the school district will also require special record keeping and labeling of such items.


Doug Johnson's book (p. 99) provides a formula for figuring a yearly maintenance budget. Maintenance budget = replacement rate X total number of items X average cost

Replacement rate = 100% / number of years in the life span of the item

In his example, if a school has 50 VCRs which cost $300 each and have a life span of 10 years the replacement rate = 100% divided by 10 years or 10%.  Therefore, Maintenance budget = 10% X  50 items X $300 = $1500 That means a school should budget $1500 per year to repair or replace VCRs.

This calculation gets complicated when all the items are purchased in one year as part of a large building process or bond issue as they then tend to need replacement at the same time.  It is best to spread these purchases out over several years to facilitate maintenance.  

Do not purchase more technology at one time than can be regularly maintained, upgraded and replaced and consider the support personnel to service this amount of equipment.  It does little good to have 200 computers in a school if you don't have the staff to keep them up and running every day.


While maintaining the current library media center, consider where the LMC will be in the future in terms of capital equipment.  In the past, many schools have added computer equipment through grants and special referendums, but this is not likely to continue into the future.  

Think about where the LMC should be in 3-5 years and then divide the items that are desirable to add by the number of years it should take you to reach this goal.  Then multiply this by the cost of the item.  This results in a realistic figure to use when discussing budget needs with the principal, technology coordinator, or budget committee.

Bids or Educational Price Lists

Large ticket items like computers or furniture often require a bid process or purchasing from an approved list to assure the district gets the best price. Check with the district on when to put something out for bid and which items are to be purchased off of an educational price list. 

The former is generally used for large items such as library tables and chairs and the latter may be used for computer equipment or non-library supplies.  When writing bids, be extremely specific to get exactly the desired products or services.  The lowest bidder will generally be chosen to as the supplier. Generally, one cannot specify brand names, so you need to have your exact parameters spelled out.  Get help on this from your business office.  

For example, for a computer system, you need to consider things like processor speed, RAM, cache, harddrive size, storage devices (e.g., CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, zipdrive, floppy drive), networking capabilities, expansion slots, Firewire / USB ports, warranty, monitor, etc. 

The TEACH Wisconsin Technology and Services Procurement site was intended to help districts with technology purchases but has not been updated in the last year. Many computer hardware sites provide educational prices for computer systems and peripherals:

bulletHP/Compaq (Compaq Presario or HP

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Budget Codes

The resource section of this web contains a budget code page for more information.  The Wisconsin Uniform Financial Accounting Requirements (WUFAR) is used when ordering materials for the library media center. Each number is at least 18 digits long. For example, the number 10 401 432 222 200 000 9 can be parsed to indicate a range of information.

bulletFund.  10=General fund
bulletLocation.  401=High school
bulletObject.  432=Library books
bulletFunction.  222=Educational media
bulletSubfunction.  200=School library
bulletProgram or project.  000=none
bulletFiscal year.  9=1998-1999

Additional digits may be added by each district's bookkeeping system to meet local needs. For school library media specialists, the most important numbers are those covered by the Common School Fund but they may use additional numbers (see Hopkins, pages 69-71). These numbers should be types on each requisition and are used to track how much is spent of the Common School Fund.

bullet431: Audiovisual media
bullet432: Library books
bullet433: Newspapers
bullet434: Periodicals
bullet435: Programmed computer software
bullet438: Microfilm
bullet439: Reference

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There are several ways to actually order materials. Most people select one or two jobbers for the majority of their print orders and resort to the others for special orders.  Common vendors include:  Follett, Brodart, Baker and Taylor, Mackin)


bulletAdvantages: Many people like to shop at the local bookstore because they can personally examine the items and get them very quickly. Some of the larger bookstores even allow up to a 20% discount on school purchases. Could order materials not in stock but may not give discount.
bulletDisadvantages: Not all districts are set up to purchase things from bookstores -- additional arrangements may be needed to handle purchase orders. Some districts limit the amount that can be spent this way. Bookstores may have a more limited range of children's and YA titles. They generally handle trade, not library binding, books. There may not be dust jackets, and cataloging or processing is not available.

Online bookstores (amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com)

bulletAdvantages: Simple to locate materials by subject. Items discounted. Reviews by other readers.
bulletDisadvantages: May handle limited number of titles. Sometimes backordering can take a good deal of time. Postage fees can add up. Often do not handle library bindings. No cataloging or processing.

Publishers / Producers

bulletAdvantage: Best place to be assured of getting a work of that publisher. Extensive catalogs of their titles with descriptions and often illustrations. May be the only way to order software or audiovisual materials.
bulletDisadvantages: Seldom give discounts. Postage costs. Cataloging and processing seldom available. Not selective.

Methods of ordering:

bulletElectronically: Select materials from Internet or CD-ROM database. Print out list of selected items and attach to requisition or order via the Internet or modem if allowed by school.
bulletCatalog (print or CD-ROM): Mark items desired on catalog and have company order from this or have them create a list with prices for attaching to requisition.
bulletAdvantages: One-spot shopping. Provide processing and cataloging to your specifications. Significant discounts. Library binding available. Stock items of interest to school libraries. Electronic catalogs make selection and ordering easy. Will backorder items. Sometimes postage is free.
bulletDisadvantages: Not selective. Some may have few descriptions and no reviews. Items may not stay in stock long.

Collaborative Purchasing Agreements

bulletWILS: Wisconsin InterLibrary Services

This not-for-project library services organization provides a wide range of services to libraries of all kinds around Wisconsin. For a basic membership fee the district is eligible for discounts on CD-ROM and electronic databases, hardware, supplies, equipment, and furniture. For a school district with one high school this fee is only $100 per year. Each fall a print catalog is sent to the district's contact person. This catalog is updated both on the website and in a periodic newsletter. For some services, the district sends a purchase order to WILS, and they place the order. For other vendors, the participating district sends a purchase order directly to the company with a WILS code. WILS also can make OCLC and interlibrary loan services available to public schools if desired. For more information on the services of WILS, check out their web site. Cheryl Bradley (cbradley@doit.wisc.edu, phone: 608-263-4962) can provide additional information.

bulletCESA Services

The CESAs provide a wide range of purchasing services to their members. These vary greatly from CESA to CESA, so contact your local representative for more information. Some are based on contracts with Instructional Technology Support Services at each CESA. For example, CESA 1 in the past has negotiated contracts for discounted software purchases available to schools throughout the state from MicroSoft, Filemaker, Edmark, Educational Resources, Forest Technologies, HyperStudio, Inspiration, Learning Outfitters, AlphaSmart (to individuals and to schools), NTS (DreamWriter), Perfect Solutions, Slater Software, and Bell Education (formerly Graham MicroAge).  Discounts from Apple for CESA1 members only Novell networks for schools under 2500 students Contact Pam Kandziora (414-546-3000, ext. 426 or 800-261 2372, ext. 426 or pkandzi@cesa1.k12.wi.us) to determine if any of these programs are still available. Most have been discontinued for legal reasons.


The Wisconsin Educational Media Association has just negotiated a contract for educational discounts on Adobe products through CCV Software. Check their website for an upcoming announcement.

bulletIndividual Companies

Numerous companies will offer discounts to schools in Wisconsin. For example,

bulletVanguard Computers, Madison:Hewlett Packard products
bulletCompuCom, Brookfield: Hewlett Packard products
bulletGrimm Book Bindery, Madison: Textbook and library book rebinding
bulletDorling Kindersley Family Learning: Educational Software
bulletThe Wisconsin Association of School Boards Marketplace Page advertises products of interest to schools. Searchable by keyword, company name, or product category. There are categories such as: - Communication, Data, Music, Sound, Video & Voice Systems - Computers, Internet Providers, MIS Consulting, Training or Software - Curriculum, Early Childhood, Instruction & Educational Supplies & Resources - School & Office Equipment, Forms, Supplies & Furniture
bulletVendorNet, Wisconsin's electronic purchasing information system, was created to provide easy access to a wide variety of information of interest to vendors who wish to provide goods and services. Information provided by the companies is stored in the central statewide vendor database for inclusion in bidders lists as they arise. Municipalities, including school districts, may register for VendorNet and then may check through this listing of state contracts to determine if pricing is available to them. Approximately 70 municipalities are currently registered.  

[ Budget Requests ] [ Equipment ] [ Budget Codes ] [ Vendors ]

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