Article VII, Section 3 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 2, 1999:

(a) One-fourth of the revenue derived from the State occupation taxes shall be set apart annually for the benefit of the public free schools.

(b) It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to set aside a sufficient amount of available funds to provide free text books for the use of children attending the public free schools of this State.

(c) Should the taxation herein named be insufficient the deficit may be met by appropriation from the general funds of the State.

(d) The Legislature may provide for the formation of school districts by general laws, and all such school districts may embrace parts of two or more counties.

(e) The Legislature shall be authorized to pass laws for the assessment and collection of taxes in all school districts and for the management and control of the public school or schools of such districts, whether such districts are composed of territory wholly within a county or in parts of two or more counties, and the Legislature may authorize an additional ad valorem tax to be levied and collected within all school districts for the further maintenance of public free schools, and for the erection and equipment of school buildings therein; provided that a majority of the qualified voters of the district voting at an election to be held for that purpose, shall approve the tax.

Editor Comments

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "There shall be set apart annually not more than one-fourth of general revenue of the State, and a poll tax of one dollar on all male inhabitants in this State between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years, for the benefit of the public free schools."

The section has been completely rewritten. It was amended in 1883, 1908, 1909, 1918, 1920, 1926, and 1999. The most recent amendment removed several obsolete provisions.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • Shepherd v. San Jacinto Junior College Dist., 363 S.W.2d 742, 743 (Tex. 1962) ("The solution of the problem is not free of difficulty. Our school laws have been characterized as confused, vague and conflicting. Barber v. County Board of Trustees, Tex.Civ.App., [], and lack of clarity is found in both constitutional and statutory enactments. Article 7, Sec. 3 of the Constitution which is of importance here has been amended some six times since its adoption as a part of the Constitution of 1876. . . . The last amendment to Article 7, Sec. 3 of the Constitution was adopted in 1926, so that the form of Article 7, Sec. 3, as it existed after 1926, is of controlling importance here.")
  • Love v. City of Dallas, 40 S.W.2d 20, 26 (Tex. 1931) ("[T]he property and funds of the public schools are held in trust by the city, district, county, or other statutory agency, to be used for the benefit of the school children of the community or district in which the properties exist, or to which the school funds have been allocated. We think these properties and funds are so plainly and clearly impressed with a trust in favor of the local public schools of the city or district that they are within the protective claims of both the state and federal Constitutions, and that the Legislature is without power to devote them to any other purpose or to the use of any other beneficiary or beneficiaries.")
  • Glass v. Pool, 166 S.W. 375, 378 (Tex. 1914) ("Counsel assert that the law which authorizes the trustees of school districts, general and independent, to purchase 'sites' for school buildings is void, because it is not authorized by this provision of the Constitution: '. . . schools, and the erection and equipment of school buildings therein.' The literal construction of the Constitution insisted upon would destroy the bonds heretofore issued by school districts and create confusion in the management of the public free schools. But we have no hesitancy in holding the granting of the authority to build schoolhouses implies the authority to purchase the land on which it is to be erected.")

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