Florida Constitution of 1868
Enabling 1869 School Law
At the adoption of the constitution of 1868, and the enactment of the school law compiled by
State Superintendent C. Thruston Chase, by the Legislature in 1869 comprised the effective
legislation contemplating the establishment of a uniform system of public schools supported by
taxation.


                                                  
1869 School Law

Constitution of 1868
Section 1 It is the paramount duty of the State to make ample provisions for the education of all
the children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference.

Section 2. The legislature shall provide a uniform system of common schools and a university, and
shall provide for the liberal maintenance of the same. Instruction in them shall be free.

Section 3. There shall be a superintendent of public instruction whose term of office shall be four
years, and until the appointment and qualification of his successor. He shall have general
supervision of the educational interests of the State. His duties shall be prescribed by law.

Section 4 The common-school fund, the interest of which shall be exclusively applied to the
support and maintenance of common schools and purchase of suitable libraries and apparatus
therefor, shall be derived from the following sources:

The proceeds of all lands that have been or may hereafter be granted to the State by the United
States for educational purposes; appropriation by the State; the proceeds of lands or other
property which may accrue to the State by escheat or forfeiture; the proceeds of all property
granted to the State when the purpose of such grant shall not be specified; all moneys which may
be paid as an exemption from military duty; all fines collected under the penal laws of this State;
such portion of the per capita tax as may be prescribed by law for educational purposes; twenty-
five per cent of the sales of public lands which are now or hereafter may be owned by the State.

Section 5. A special tax of not less than one mill on the dollar of all taxable property of the State, in
addition to the other means provided, shall be levied and apportioned annually for the support and
maintenance of common schools.

Section 6. The principal of the common-school fund shall remain sacred and inviolate.

Section 7. Provision shall be made by law for the distribution of the common-school fund among
the several counties of the State in proportion to the number of children residing therein between
the ages of four and twenty-one years.

Section 8. Each county shall be required to raise annually by tax for the support of common
schools therein, a sum not less than one-half the amount apportioned to each county for that year
from the income of the common-school fund. Any school district neglecting to establish and
maintain for at least three months in each year such school or schools as may be provided by law
for such district shall forfeit its portion of the common-school fund during such neglect.

Section 9. The superintendent of public instruction, secretary of state, and attorney general shall
constitute a body-corporate, to be known as the board of education of Florida. The
superintendent of public instruction shall be president thereof. The duties of the board of
education shall be prescribed by the legislature.

School Law of 1869
General and uniform system of public instruction throughout the State, wherein tuition was to be
free to all the youth residing in the State between the ages of six and twenty-one years.

County Boards of Public Instruction not more than 5 members all whom were appointed by the state
board of education after being nominated by the superintendent of public instruction and recommended
by the representatives of the county. The county superintendent of schools was by virtue of his office,
its secretary and agent. The chairman and other officers were chosen by the board itself.

1 assume and hold title to all property of the county, and to have the oversight, management, and
disposition of the same, keeping in mind the best educational interests

2 to receive, hold and manage the common-school funds of the county, with due regard to their
just distribution and use

3 to locate and maintain schools, as needed within the county, for not less than three months in
each year

4 to have oversight of the construction, rental, repair, and improvement of the schoolhouses,
feces, grounds, and equipment;

5 to procure the textbooks and proper apparatus for the schools, and the books and stationery
needed by the teachers

6 to grade and classify the pupils

7 to examine, certificate, employ, and pay the teachers

8 to fix the compensation and expenses of the county superintendent of schools

9 to choose candidate for admission to the state university or seminaries

10 to determine the amount of money to be raised by taxation for educational purposes within the
county

11 to keep an accurate record of all their official acts, proceedings, and decisions of all financial
matters relating to the schools of the county, of the state and condition of each school, and to
report to the superintendent of public instruction when so required

12 to do whatever was reasonable and necessary for the educational welfare of the county.

County Superintendents of Schools
1 2 year term
2 to ascertain the places where schools were needed

3 to present plans and estimates for the construction and improvement of school buildings

4 to visit the schools of the county, carefully observe the condition of the same, and give such
helpful suggestions as he deemed proper

5 to arouse a greater interest in education throughout the county

6 to select, for appointment by the county board of education, the local school trustees, and, when
elected, to see that they attended to their duties and were kept supplied with copies of the laws
decisions, blanks, and regulations of the state department of education

7 to decide on appeal to him, all disputes and controversies arising within the county, or refer
them to the county board for decision

8 to see that the educational affairs of the county were properly guarded, and that its rights to in
relation to education were secured

9 to establish and maintain schools within the county

10 to examine and certificate teachers when empowered to do so by the county board, and to
revoke or suspend the same when sufficient cause was given;

11 to perform all the acts of the county board of ed when that body failed or neglected to attend to
its duties;

12 to suspend any certificate when there was a good reason for doing so

13 to keep a record of each school in the county and of the expenditure therefor.

Local School Trustees

1 to attend to the construction and rental of school buildings

2 to look after the school property and make or oversee the making of repairs and improvements

3 to see that the schools were properly supplied with suitable textbooks and teaching supplies

4 to examine each school once a month and see that it was conducted in accordance with the rules
and regulations of the state department of public instruction

5 to assist the teachers, when necessary, in matters of attendance and discipline

6 to try to awaken among the people an increased interest in education

7 to suggest changes and improvements to the county superintendent of schools

8 to keep a complete and reliable record of all their official acts and proceedings and the length of
time actually taught by each teacher

9 to certify the accounts of teachers and other persons to the county board of education

10 to make a report to the county superintendent of schools every 3 months, or oftener when
required, on all matters committed to their charge.

Teachers
1. To work faithfully and industriously for the growth of the pupils in subject-matter;

2. To labor earnestly to raise the moral tone of the pupils

3 to lead the pupils, both by precept and by example to an acquaintance with, and the practice of,
the different virtues

4 to require them to observe such virtues as personal cleanliness, neatness, orderliness,
promptness, and courtesy, and to avoid such vices as vulgarity and profanity

5 to cultivate in them a consideration for the rights and  feelings of others and the realization of
their own duties and responsibilities as citizens;

6 to see that the property of the school was not injured in any way

7 to enforce the rules and regulations of the school in regard to the conduct of the pupils;

8 to suspend those who persistently violated the rules and regulations

9 to hold a public examination once each term, that is, once a month

10 and on closing or suspending the school, to turn over to the trustees of the school the keys and
all the property and at all times to conform to the rules and regulations of the department of
public instruction.


A State Board of Education was first established in Florida by the school law of 1869. It was an
Ex-Officio Board, consisting of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Secretary of
State, and the Attorney General.
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