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Constitution of the State of Texas (1869)

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ARTICLE IX.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

SECTION I. It shall be the duty of the Legislature of this State, to make suitable provisions for the support and maintenance of a system of Public Free Schools, for the gratuitous instruction of all the inhabitants of this State, between the ages of six and eighteen years.

SECTION II. There shall be a Superintendent of Public Instruction, who, after the first term of office, shall be elected by the people; the first term of office shall be filled by appointment of the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Superintendent shall hold his office for the term of four years. He shall receive an annual salary of two thousand five hundred dollars, until otherwise provided by law. In case of vacancy in the office of the Superintendent, it shall be filled by appointment of the Governor, until the next general election.

SECTION III. The Superintendent shall have the supervision of the Public Free Schools of the State, and shall perform such other duties concerning public instruction as the Legislature may direct. The Legislature may lay off the State into convenient school Districts, and provide for the formation of a Board of School Directors in each District. It may give the District Boards such legislative powers, in regard to the schools, schoolhouses, and school fund of the District, as may be deemed necessary and proper. It shall be the duty of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to recommend to the Legislature, such provisions of law as may be found necessary, in the progress of time, to the establishment and perfection of a complete system of education, adapted to the circumstances and wants of the people of this State. He shall, at each session of the Legislature, furnish that body with a complete report of all the Free Schools in the State, giving an account of the condition of the same, and the progress of education within the State. Whenever required by either House of the Legislature, it shall be his duty to furnish all information called for, in relation to Public Schools.

SECTION IV. The Legislature shall establish a uniform system of Public Free Schools throughout the State.

SECTION V. The Legislature, at its first session, (or as soon thereafter as may be possible,) shall pass such laws as will require the attendance on the Public Free Schools of the State of al the scholastic population thereof, for the period of at least four months of each and every year; provided, that when any of the scholastic inhabitants may be shown to have received regular instruction, for said period of time in each and every year, from any private teacher having a proper certificate of competency, this shall exempt them from the operation of the laws contemplated by this section.

SECTION VI. As a basis for the establishment and endowment of said Public Free Schools, all the funds, lands, and other property heretofore set apart and appropriated, or that may hereafter be set apart and appropriated, for the support and maintenance of Public Schools, shall constitute the Public School Fund. And all sums of money that may come to this State hereafter from the sale of any portion of the public domain of the State of Texas, shall also constitute a part of the Public School Fund. And the Legislature shall set apart, for the benefit of Public Schools, one fourth of the annual revenue derivable from general taxation; and shall also cause to be levied and collected, an annual poll tax of one dollar, on all male persons in this State, between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years, for the benefit of Public Schools. And said fund and the income derived therefrom, and the taxes herein provided for school purposes, shall be a perpetual fund, to be applied, as needed, exclusively for the education of all the scholastic inhabitants of this State; and no law shall ever be made appropriating such fund for any other use or purpose whatever.

SECTION VII. The Legislature shall, if necessary, in addition to the income derived from the Public School Fund, and from the taxes for school purposes provided for in the foregoing section, provide for the raising of such amount by taxation, in the several School Districts in the State, as will be necessary to provide the necessary school houses in each district, and insure the education of all the scholastic inhabitants of the several Districts.

SECTION VIII. The public lands heretofore given to counties shall be under the control of the Legislature, and may be sold under such regulations as the Legislature may prescribe; and in such case the proceeds of the same shall be added to the Public School Fund.

SECTION IX. The Legislature shall, at its first session, (and from time to time thereafter, as may be found necessary,) provide all needful rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Article. It is made the imperative duty of the Legislature to see to it, that all the children in the State, with the scholastic age, are, without delay, provided with ample means of education. The Legislature shall annually appropriate for school purposes, and to be equally distributed among all the scholastic population of the State, the interest accruing on the School Fund, and the income derived from taxation for school purposes; and shall, from time to time, as may be necessary, invest the principal of the School Fund in the bonds of the United States Government, and in no other security.