Article VII, Section 6 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 6, 2001:

All lands heretofore, or hereafter granted to the several counties of this State for educational purposes, are of right the property of said counties respectively, to which they were granted, and title thereto is vested in said counties, and no adverse possession or limitation shall ever be available against the title of any county. Each county may sell or dispose of its lands in whole or in part, in manner to be provided by the Commissioners Court of the county. Said lands, and the proceeds thereof, when sold, shall be held by said counties alone as a trust for the benefit of public schools therein; said proceeds to be invested in bonds of the United States, the State of Texas, or counties in said State, or in such other securities, and under such restrictions as may be prescribed by law; and the counties shall be responsible for all investments; the interest thereon, and other revenue, except the principal shall be available fund.

Editor Comments

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "All lands heretofore or hereafter granted to the several counties of this State for education, or schools, are of right the property of said counties respectively to which they were granted and title thereto is vested in said counties, and no adverse possession or limitation shall ever be available against the title of any county. Each county may sell or dispose of its lands in whole or in part, in manner to be provided by the Commissioners' Court of the county. Actual settlers residing on said lands shall be protected in the prior right of purchasing the same to the extent of their settlement, not to exceed one hundred and sixty acres, at the price fixed by said court, which price shall not include the value of existing improvements made thereon by such settlers. Said lands and the proceeds thereof, when sold, shall be held by said counties alone as a trust for the benefit of public schools therein; said proceeds to be vested in bonds of the State of Texas, or of the United States, and only the interest thereon to be used and expended annually."

The section has been amended twice. The most recent amendment removed the sentence concerning the rights of settlers.

Note that Article VII, Section 6b ("[n]otwithstanding the provisions of Section 6, Article VII") modifies this section's substance.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

None.

Historic Decisions

  • Webb County v. Bd. of Sch. Trs. of Laredo, 65 S.W. 878, 880 (Tex. 1901) ("As we have said, [the respective counties] hold these lands, and the principal of the proceeds of these sales, in trust, for the benefit of the state schools in the counties; and it may be that they are bound to make good any loss which may result from an investment of such proceeds. As to what they shall do with the available proceeds of such fund, the constitution does not prescribe. . . . In our opinion, when the commissioners' court, who are made by the organic law the executive board for administering the affairs of the county, have done this, they discharged the liability of the county for that fund.")
  • Galveston County v. Tankersley, 39 Tex. 651, 658 (1873) ("But we do not interpret article 9 of the constitution as intending to annul its executed grants. There were many counties that had not had patents issued, and that act might prevent the further issuance of patents; besides the grants were made for school purposes, and the legislature might very properly control the schools and the school fund, at least so far as to insure its proper application to the purposes for which the land was granted. We think Galveston county had a right to prosecute her suit to final judgment, and, in case she obtained a judgment, the right to hold the land in her own name for the purposes for which it was granted.")

Library Resources

Online Resources