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About SBOE - History of the SBOE

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is the policy-making body of the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which coordinates all public educational activities and services except those of colleges and universities. The SBOE approves, on the recommendation of the commissioner of education, the plan of organization; adopts policies, rules, and regulations; approves budgets; executes contracts for the purchase of textbooks and instructional materials as recommended by the commissioner; directs the investment of the Permanent School Fund; passes on appeals made from the decisions of the commissioner; reviews the educational needs of the state; and evaluates programs under the direction of TEA.

The first ex-officio Board of Education was created by the Texas Constitution of 1866, Article X, Section 10, and consisted of the governor, comptroller of public accounts, and superintendent of public education. Its composition was changed by the Texas Constitution of 1876, Article VII, Section 8, to include the Texas Governor, Secretary of State, and Comptroller of Public Accounts, "who shall distribute said funds to the several counties and perform such other duties concerning public schools as may be prescribed by law." An elective office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was established in 1884 (Substitute Senate Bills 32 and 44, 18th Texas Legislature, Special Session). In 1905 (Senate Bill 218, 29th Legislature, Regular Session) the State Superintendent of Public Instruction was designated as ex-officio secretary to the three member State Board of Education.

The Texas Constitution, Article VII, Section 8, was amended by the election of November 6, 1928, to r "The Legislature shall provide by law for a State Board of Education, whose members shall be appointed or elected in such manner and by such authority and shall serve for such terms as the Legislature shall prescribe not to exceed six years. The said board shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law." In 1929 (Senate Bill 13, 41st Legislature, 1st Called Session; and House Bill 79, 41st Legislature, 2nd Called Session), this newly constituted board was created, composed of nine members appointed by the governor for six-year terms. It superseded the earlier ex-officio board.

In 1949, the Texas Legislature (Senate Bill 115, 51st Legislature, Regular Session), reorganized state management of public education in Texas. It abolished the appointive nine-member State Board of Education, and also the elective office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In their place, this law created a central education agency composed of an elected 21-member State Board of Education (SBOE); a State Commissioner of Education selected by the board; and agency staff of a State Department of Education--soon called the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The 21 members of the SBOE were elected for staggered six-year terms, with one member being elected from each congressional district of the state "as they now exist and as they shall be changed from time to time." In 1969 (House Bill 534, 61st Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the description of these districts was amended to r "The State Board of Education shall be composed of 21 members, one elected from each of the educational districts, whose boundaries are coterminous with the congressional districts as constituted in 1949." But when the congressional districts were increased to 24 as a result of redistricting in 1971 (Senate Bill 1, 62nd Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session), the number of SBOE members was also raised (Senate Bill 2): "The State Board of Education is composed of one member elected from each congressional district established by law."

In 1984 (House Bill 72, 68th Legislature, 2nd Called Session) specific State Board of Education districts were created, and the SBOE was reduced to 15 members, one member elected from each newly constituted SBOE district, for overlapping four-year terms. The commissioner of education is nominated by the board and appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for a four-year term. That same legislation also established the Legislative Education Board to oversee the implementation of state-mandated education reforms and to set public education policy, which TEA and the State Board of Education implement.

In 1995 (Senate Bill 1, 74th Legislature, Regular Session) the legislature, among other changes in education, established the Texas State Board of Education as an entity separate and apart from the Texas Education Agency, although SBOE is still considered the policymaking board for TEA. This law also created a new body, the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. The Texas State Board of Education is also designated as the Texas State Board for Career and Technology Education (formerly called the Texas State Board for Vocational Education).