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Art. XI, § 12



out the unexpired term and where two persons elected to the board at next regular election were declared ineligible, persons appointed by the newly elected remaining member were entitled to membership rather than defendants. State ex rel. Barnes v. Smith, 199 Tenn. 459, 287

  • S.

    W.2d 63 (1956).

    • 15.

      —Failure to Qualify.

The sheriff elect died between the date of his election and the date when he should have qualified. There was no vacancy in the office of sheriff, and the old sheriff was empowered to holdover, though the quarterly county court undertook to fill the supposed vacancy by election of a sheriff. State ex rel. Gann v. Malone, 131 Tenn. 149, 174 S.W. 257 (1915).

Where the statute requires the taking of an oath of office, the elected officer does not qualify and the term of office does not commence until the prescribed oath is taken. State ex rel. Wyrick v. Wright, 678 S.W.2d 61 (Tenn. 1984) (elected official dies before taking oath).

16. Common Law Powers.

This provision of the constitution and the provisions in Tenn. Const., art. VII, §§ 4, 5, and art. XI, § 17 as to the manner in which officers shall be elected are not violated by a statute (Acts 1905, ch. 150) requiring the separation of the white and colored races on streetcars, because it authorizes the conductors in charge of the cars to change the line of division in cars, and to assign seats to passengers in accordance with such change, for this is not an unlawful delegation of the police power to the agents of streetcar companies in violation of such constitutional provisions, but is a requirement of the exercise of a power already existing by the common law in streetcar companies. Morrison v. State, 116 Tenn. 534, 95 S.W. 494 (1905). As to police power, see Rhinehart v. State, 121 Tenn. 420, 117 S.W. 508 (1908); Motlow v. State, 125 Tenn. 547, 145 S.W. 177 (1912), cert. dismissed, 239 U.S. 653, 36 S. Ct. 161, 60 L. Ed. 487 (1915).

17. Effect of Vacancy.

Where justice of the peace resigned and his resignation was accepted by county judge prior to date of meeting of quarterly county court and justice made no effort to participate in meeting in any way, office of justice was vacant at time of meeting and he should not have been counted in determining whether a quorum was present. Bailey v. Greer, 63 Tenn. App. 13, 468 S.W.2d 327 (1971).


SECTION. Education’s inherent value — Public schools — Support of higher education. 12.

Sec. 12. Education’s inherent value — Public schools — Support of higher education. — The State of Tennessee recognizes the inherent value of education and encourages its support. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance, support and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools. The General Assembly may establish and sup- port such postsecondary educational institutions, in- cluding public institutions of higher learning, as it determines. [As amended; Adopted in Convention Oc- tober 11, 1977; approved at election March 7, 1978; Proclaimed by Governor, March 31, 1978.]

Compiler’s Notes. Prior to the 1978 amendment this section read: ‘‘Knowledge, learning, and virtue, being essential to the preservation of republican institutions, and the diffusion of the opportunities and advantages of education throughout the different portions of the State, being highly conducive to the promotion of this end, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly in all future periods of this Government, to cherish literature and science. And the fund called common school fund, and all the lands and proceeds thereof, dividends, stocks, and other property of every description whatever, heretofore by law appro-

priated by the General Assembly of this State for the use of common schools, and all such as shall hereafter be appropriated, shall remain a perpetual fund, the principal of which shall never be diminished by Legislative appropriations; and the interest thereof shall be inviolably appropriated to the support and encouragement of common schools throughout the State, and for the equal benefit of all the people thereof; and no law shall be made authorizing said fund or any part thereof to be divested to any other use than the support and encouragement of common schools. The State taxes, derived hereafter from polls shall be appropriated to educational purposes, in such manner as the General Assembly shall from time to time direct by law. No school established or aided under this section shall allow white and negro children to be received as scholars together in the same school. The above provisions shall not prevent the Legislature from carrying into effect any laws that have been passed in favor of the Colleges, Universities or Acade- mies, or from authorizing heirs or distributees to receive and enjoy escheated property under such laws as may be passed from time to time.’’ This amendment was adopted by a vote of 237,912 in favor and 127,788 against.

Cross-References. Education, title 49. Health and educational facility corporations, title 48, ch. 3, part 3. Public education system established, § 49-1-101. State university and community college system established, § 49-8- 101.

Tennessee student assistance program, § 49-4-301. Tennessee student loan program, § 49-4-501. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga established, § 49-9-901. University of Tennessee at Martin established, § 49-9-1001. University of Tennessee board of trustees, §§ 49-9-201, 49-9-202. University of Tennessee college of veterinary medicine established, § 49-9-801.

University of Tennessee medical school established, § 49-9-701. University of Tennessee Space Institute established, § 49-9-601. Section to Section References. This section is referred to in § 49-7-803.

Law Reviews. Comment, A Review of the Struggle for Tennessee Tax Reform, 60 Tenn. L. Rev. 431 (1993).

Leaving Equality Behind: New Directions in School Finance Reform (Peter Enrich), 48 Vand. L. Rev. 101 (1995).

School Finance Litigation: A Rural Perspective: The Magna Carta of Public Education in Tennessee (Lewis R. Donelson), 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 445 (1994).

School Finance Litigation: An Urban Perspective (Ernest G. Kelly Jr.), 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 471 (1994).

School Finance Litigation: The State’s Perspective (Charles W. Burson, Jane W. Young), 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 457 (1994).

The Great Tax Debate: Start at the Beginning (Allan F. Ramsaur), 35 No. 9 Tenn. B.J. 19 (1999).

The Wages of Taking Bakke Seriously: The Untenable Denial of the Primacy of the Individual, 67 Tenn. L. Rev. 949 (2000).

Attorney General Opinions. Municipality must offer new grade levels to all eligible children, OAG 98-090 (4/15/98); OAG 98-0132 (7/28/98).

If the failure to disburse basic education program funding adversely affects the delivery of program to K through 12 students, then the failure to distribute could lead to a violation of the constitution, OAG 01-112 (7/12/01).

Cited: City of Nashville v. State Bd. of Equalization, 210 Tenn. 587, 360 S.W.2d 458 (1962); Goss v. Board of Educ., 301 F.2d 164 (6th Cir.

  • 1962)

    ; modified, Northcross v. Board of Educ., 302 F.2d 818 (6th Cir.

  • 1962)

    ; George Peabody College for Teachers v. State Bd. of Equaliza-

tion, 219 Tenn. 123, 407 S.W.2d 443 (1966); County of Johnson v. United States Gypsum Co., 664 F. Supp. 1127 (E.D. Tenn. 1985); State ex rel. Weaver v. Ayers, 756 S.W.2d 217 (Tenn. 1988); Rollins v. Wilson County Gov’t, 967 F. Supp. 990 (M.D. Tenn. 1997); Southern Constructors, Inc. v. Loudon County Bd. of Educ., 58 S.W.3d 706 (Tenn. 2001); Tenn. Small Sch. Sys. v. McWherter, 91 S.W.3d 232 (Tenn. 2002).



  • 1.

    Failure of challenge to 1978 amendment.

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    Municipal and county schools.

  • 3.


  • 4.

    Federal courts.

  • 5.

    Equal educational opportunities.

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