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XARTICLE X.
EDUCATION
X,1 Superintendent of public instruction. Section 1. [As amended Nov. 1902 and Nov. 1982] The supervision of public instruction shall be vested in a state superintendent and such other officers as the legislature shall direct; and their qualifications, powers, duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law. The state superintendent shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the state at the same time and in the same manner as members of the supreme court, and shall hold office for 4 years from the succeeding first Monday in July. The term of office, time and manner of electing or appointing all other officers of supervision of public instruction shall be fixed by law. [1899 J.R. 16, 1901 J.R. 3, 1901 c. 258, vote Nov. 1902; 1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982]

This section confers no more authority upon school officers than that delineated by statute. Arbitration Between West Salem & Fortney, 108 Wis. 2d 167, 321 N.W.2d 225 (1982).

The legislature may not give any "other officer" authority equal or superior to that of the state superintendent. Thompson v. Craney, 199 Wis. 2d 674, 546 N.W.2d 123 (1996), 95-2168.

X,2 School fund created; income applied. Section 2. [As amended Nov. 1982] The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this state for educational purposes (except the lands heretofore granted for the purposes of a university) and all moneys and the clear proceeds of all property that may accrue to the state by forfeiture or escheat; and the clear proceeds of all fines collected in the several counties for any breach of the penal laws, and all moneys arising from any grant to the state where the purposes of such grant are not specified, and the 500,000 acres of land to which the state is entitled by the provisions of an act of congress, entitled "An act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the public lands and to grant pre-emption rights," approved September 4, 1841; and also the 5 percent of the net proceeds of the public lands to which the state shall become entitled on admission into the union (if congress shall consent to such appropriation of the 2 grants last mentioned) shall be set apart as a separate fund to be called "the school fund," the interest of which and all other revenues derived from the school lands shall be exclusively applied to the following objects, to wit:

X,2(1) (1) To the support and maintenance of common schools, in each school district, and the purchase of suitable libraries and apparatus therefor.

X,2(2) (2) The residue shall be appropriated to the support and maintenance of academies and normal schools, and suitable libraries and apparatus therefor. [1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982]

The clear proceeds of fines imposed, at least 50% under s. 59.20 (8) [now s. 59.25 (3) (j)] after the accused forfeits a deposit by nonappearance must be sent to the state treasurer for the school fund. 58 Atty. Gen. 142.

Money resulting from state forfeitures action under ss. 161.555 [now s. 961.555] and 973.075 (4) must be deposited in the school fund. Money granted to the state after a federal forfeiture proceeding need not be. 76 Atty. Gen. 209.

X,3 District schools; tuition; sectarian instruction; released time. Section 3. [As amended April 1972] The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein; but the legislature by law may, for the purpose of religious instruction outside the district schools, authorize the release of students during regular school hours. [1969 J.R. 37, 1971 J.R. 28, vote April 1972]

The constitution does not require that school districts be uniform in size or equalized valuation. Larson v. State Appeal Board 56 Wis. 2d 823, 202 N.W.2d 920.

Public schools may sell or charge fees for the use of books and items of a similar nature when authorized by statute without violating this section. Board of Education v. Sinclair, 65 Wis. 2d 179, 222 N.W.2d 143.

Use of the word "shall" in s. 118.155, making cooperation by school boards with programs of religious instruction during released time mandatory rather than discretionary does not infringe upon the inherent powers of a school board. State ex rel. Holt v. Thompson, 66 Wis. 2d 659, 225 N.W.2d 678.

School districts are not constitutionally compelled to admit gifted four-year old children into kindergarten. Zweifel v. Joint Dist., No. 1, Belleville, 76 Wis. 2d 648, 251 N.W.2d 822.

The mere appropriation of public monies to a private school does not transform that school into a district school under this section. Jackson v. Benson, 218 Wis. 2d 835, 578 N.W.2d 602 (1998), 97-0270.

The school finance system under ch. 121 is constitutional under both art. I, sec. 1 and art. X, sec. 3. Students have a fundamental right to an equal opportunity for a sound basic education. Uniform revenue-raising capacity among districts is not required. Vincent v. Voight, 2000 WI 93, 236 Wis. 2d 588, 614 N.W.2d 388, 97-3174.

The due process clause of the 14th amendment includes the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, including the right to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control, but that right is neither absolute nor unqualified. Parents do not have a fundamental right direct how a public school teaches their child or to dictate the curriculum at the public school to which they have chosen to send their child. Larson v. Burmaster, 2006 WI App 142, 295 Wis. 2d 333, 720 N.W.2d 134, 05-1433.

The state and its agencies, except the department of public instruction, constitutionally can deny service or require the payment of fees for services to children between age 4 and 20 who seek admission to an institution or program because school services are lacking in their community or district. 58 Atty. Gen. 53.

VTAE schools [now technical colleges] are not "district schools" within the meaning of this section. 64 Atty. Gen. 24.

Public school districts may not charge students for the cost of driver education programs if the programs are credited towards graduation. 71 Atty. Gen. 209.

Having established the right to an education, the state may not withdraw the right on grounds of misconduct absent fundamentally fair procedures to determine if misconduct occurred. Attendance by the student at expulsion deliberations is not mandatory; all that is required is the student have the opportunity to attend and present his or her case. Remer v. Burlington Area School District, 149 F. Supp. 2d 665 (2001).

Intrastate inequalities in public education; the case for judicial relief under the equal protection clause. Silard, White, 1970 WLR 7.

The constitutional mandate for free schools. 1971 WLR 971.

X,4 Annual school tax. Section 4. Each town and city shall be required to raise by tax, annually, for the support of common schools therein, a sum not less than one-half the amount received by such town or city respectively for school purposes from the income of the school fund.

X,5 Income of school fund. Section 5. Provision shall be made by law for the distribution of the income of the school fund among the several towns and cities of the state for the support of common schools therein, in some just proportion to the number of children and youth resident therein between the ages of four and twenty years, and no appropriation shall be made from the school fund to any city or town for the year in which said city or town shall fail to raise such tax; nor to any school district for the year in which a school shall not be maintained at least three months.

X,6 State university; support. Section 6. Provision shall be made by law for the establishment of a state university at or near the seat of state government, and for connecting with the same, from time to time, such colleges in different parts of the state as the interests of education may require. The proceeds of all lands that have been or may hereafter be granted by the United States to the state for the support of a university shall be and remain a perpetual fund to be called "the university fund," the interest of which shall be appropriated to the support of the state university, and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed in such university.

Vocational education is not exclusively a state function. West Milwaukee v. Area Board of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, 51 Wis. 2d 356, 187 N.W.2d 387.

X,7 Commissioners of public lands. Section 7. The secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general, shall constitute a board of commissioners for the sale of the school and university lands and for the investment of the funds arising therefrom. Any two of said commissioners shall be a quorum for the transaction of all business pertaining to the duties of their office.

X,8 Sale of public lands. Section 8. Provision shall be made by law for the sale of all school and university lands after they shall have been appraised; and when any portion of such lands shall be sold and the purchase money shall not be paid at the time of the sale, the commissioners shall take security by mortgage upon the lands sold for the sum remaining unpaid, with seven per cent interest thereon, payable annually at the office of the treasurer. The commissioners shall be authorized to execute a good and sufficient conveyance to all purchasers of such lands, and to discharge any mortgages taken as security, when the sum due thereon shall have been paid. The commissioners shall have power to withhold from sale any portion of such lands when they shall deem it expedient, and shall invest all moneys arising from the sale of such lands, as well as all other university and school funds, in such manner as the legislature shall provide, and shall give such security for the faithful performance of their duties as may be required by law.

The legislature may direct public land commissioners to invest monies from the sale of public lands in student loans but may not direct a specific investment. 65 Atty. Gen. 28.

State reservation of land and interests in lands under ch. 452, laws of 1911, 24.11 (3) and Art. X, sec. 8 is discussed. 65 Atty. Gen. 207.
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Wisconsin Constitution updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Published March 22, 2014. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.