Message of Governor T.M. Campbell to the thirtieth legislature of Texas, to which is appended the State Democratic Platform adopted at Dallas, Texas, August 13, 1906. Page: 13 of 27
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public education demanded by our Constitution is a response to the
admonition of the fathers "that unless a people are educated and enlightened
it is idle to expect a continuance of civil liberty and capacity for
The Constitution of the Texas Republic committed Texas to the cause
of public education. Every time the people have written and adopted a
constitution, every time an expression has been given in mass meetings
or in political conventions, the principle has been reaffirmed. The present
Constitution declares that "it shall be the duty of the Legislature
of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and
maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools," and further
that "there shall be levied and collected an annual ad valorem State
tax of such an amount, not to exceed 20 cents on the $100 valuation, as,
with the available school fund arising from all other sources, will be
sufficient to maintain and support the public free schools of this State
for a period of not less than six months in each year."
No higher duty rests upon this Legislature and Executive than that
involved in a faithful effort to comply with these requirements of the
Constitution. Much has already been accomplished in this direction,
but our system is by no means perfect and is capable of improvement
in many essentials. Opportunities for the better development of the
public schools of the cities and towns have been more favorable than
those of the rural communities. The income from our permanent school
fund, supplemented by the support from State and local taxation, furnish
suitable educational advantages to the boys and girls of nearly all
our cities and towns, but the rural schools are without adequate support,
and too often without efficient supervision. The six months' school
term in each year is demanded by the Constitution and has become a
threadbare pledge in the platform promises of the political party now
responsible for the administration of the affairs of our State government.
An honest rendition and assessment of taxable values would have
obviated this difficulty long ago, and the legislators of the past can not
be justly charged with dereliction of duty in this regard when in good
conscience they relied upon the fidelity and good faith of tax officials.
A six months' public school term and fair compensation to teachers
can not be secured without money. The money must come from taxation.
We will have to raise the tax rate to the limit of the Constitution
if tax officials fail in their duty to put all property on the tax rolls
at its value. Public support of our educational development is not keeping
pace with our increasing wealth and population. Reliable statistics
show that probably only two Southern States have shorter rural school
terms than Texas, ours being an average of about four months. These
same statistics indicate our unenviable position in the general school term
average, and in the percentage of the school fund which is received from
As an appropriate aid to the public schools, and especially to the
rural schools, I suggest that a constitutional amendment, authorizing a
county ad valorem school tax, be submitted to the voters. This principle
as applied to our necessities, had its origin in the mature judgment
of same of our foremost educators, and is endorsed by the following
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Campbell, Thomas Mitchell. Message of Governor T.M. Campbell to the thirtieth legislature of Texas, to which is appended the State Democratic Platform adopted at Dallas, Texas, August 13, 1906., book, January 16, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5859/m1/13/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .