Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired:
An Inventory of School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Meeting Files at the Texas State Archives, 1856-1919, 1979-2015
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) was established by the 6th Texas Legislature as the Asylum for the Blind (Chapter CVIII, August 16, 1856). In January 1857, the first student was admitted to the institution. The first classes of students met in a rented residence in Austin. The Asylum for the Blind eventually moved into a building on 19th Street and East Avenue. This site was transferred to the University of Texas in 1925, becoming the "Little Campus." The Asylum for the Blind became known as the Texas Institution for the Blind (also referred to as the Blind Institute) in 1905 and the Texas School for the Blind in 1915. In this latter year, the legislature appropriated funds to build a new campus on 73 acres of land in northwest Austin, donated by the citizens. This land, located at 1100 West 45th Street, was occupied by the school in 1917. In 1919, the 36th Legislature created the Board of Control (Senate Bill 147, Regular Session). This three-member board replaced the boards of governors of each of the state's eleemosynary institutions, including the board of trustees of the School for the Blind. In 1951, the 52nd Legislature placed the School for the Blind under the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools (House Bill 378, Regular Session). The 53rd Legislature transferred the School for the Blind to the State Board of Education (Senate Bill 119/House Bill 128, Regular Session). In 1965, the legislature placed the School for the Blind under the direction of a Central Services Agency for Special Schools for the Blind and the Deaf, under the State Board of Education, which became the Texas Education Agency (House Bill 377, 59th Legislature, Regular Session). The name of the School for the Blind was changed in 1989 to the TSBVI to better reflect the population it serves. The TSBVI is an independent school district, which covers kindergarten through twelfth grade education, and provides residential services for the blind and multihandicapped blind students. TSBVI also provides technical assistance to teachers, other professionals, and parents in local Texas communities to better serve blind and visually impaired students in the students' home districts.
Concurrently, visually-impaired African American youths were taught at a similar institution. In 1887, the 20th Legislature created the Texas Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youths, to occupy a 100-acre tract four miles northwest of the State Capitol, just east of what became Camp Mabry (House Bill 445, 20th Legislature, Regular Session). The first class had nine blind students and eight deaf students, taught by one teacher apiece. Enrollment had climbed to 125 by 1912, with a faculty of 11. The governing body was a three-person board of trustees. In 1930, orphans began to be admitted to the newly designated Deaf, Dumb and Blind Asylum for Colored Youths and Colored Orphans (House Bill 154, 41st Legislature, 5th Called Session). Three more name changes followed: in 1943, to the State School for Deaf and Blind Negro Children; in 1947, to the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School; and in 1965, to the Texas Blind and Deaf School (finally placed under the Texas Education Agency). With desegregation in 1966, black students were merged with white students in the TSBVI and the Texas School for the Deaf.
The TSBVI is overseen by a nine-member board appointed by the governor for overlapping six-year terms. Public meetings of the board are held five to six times per year. Three of the members must be blind or visually impaired, three must be parents of blind or visually impaired persons, and three must have had experience in working with the blind or visually impaired. The board is the equivalent of the board of trustees of an independent school district: it appoints an executive director or superintendent to administer the school, and all actions of the board may be appealed to the State Board of Education (Texas Education Code, Sections 11.06 through 11.091). The board has three standing committees: audit, compliance, and management review; finance; and programs.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); James W. Markham and Paulette Delahoussaye, "Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired," Handbook of Texas Online; and TSBVI's website (http://www.tsbvi.edu), all accessed June 30, 2015.)
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a public school district that provides specialized services that focus on the unique learning needs of primary and secondary students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities. Records consist of agenda, minutes and agenda attachments (including reports, correspondence, policies, and directives) for the meetings of the board of trustees and date from 1856 to 1919 and 1979 to 2015. Subjects include the results of student testing, administration of the school district, employee benefits and expectations, support activities for blind and visually impaired students attending school in his or her home district, staff policies (leave time and rights), education policies, and student discipline and welfare policies. Earlier minutes, dating 1856-1919, apparently complete for the first 64 years of the school's existence, are handwritten for the 19th century, and typewritten and pasted into the ledger for the early 20th century. In addition to minutes, these earlier minutes contain regulations, duties, and inventories of property. Agenda inform the public as to what will be discussed and/or decided at each meeting. Minutes document in a thorough but summary fashion the official actions of the board in its meetings. Researchers should note that minutes are approved at the following meeting, so records document the business of the previous meeting.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired meeting files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 1989/073, 1998/115, 1999/012, 2000/053, 2001/037, 2002/068, 2003/045, 2004/026, 2005/053, 2006/013, 2007/014, 2008/075, 2009/030, 2010/079, 2011/006, 2011/343, 2011/344, 2012/007, 2013/010, 2014/011, 2015/024, 2015/224
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas School for the Blind on December 14, 1988; by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired on May 19 and September 29, 1998; October 29, 1999; October 18, 2000; November 7, 2001; October 21, 2002; September 29, 2003; October 28, 2004; September 15, 2005; September 15, 2006; January 22 and September 24, 2008; March 3 and September 13, 2010; September 15, 2011; September 13, 2012; September 16, 2013; and October 2, 2014; and by the Legislative Reference Library on February 17, 2011 and December 13, 2012.
Minutes from Agency minutes project processed by Tony Black, March 1998
New accessions added by Tony Black, May 1998, September 1998, October 1999, October 2000, November 2001, October 2002, September 2003, October 2004, September 2005, September 2006, and January 2008
Finding aid encoded by Tony Black in EAD Version 2002, May 2008
New accessions added by Tony Black, September 2008, March 2010
Updates to description, DACS-compliance, and six new accessions added by Anna M. Reznik, June 2015
Minutes removed from the TSBVI records finding aid and added to this inventory by Anna M. Reznik, September 2015
The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired transfers copies of meeting records to the Texas State Archives regularly.
The School for the Blind and Visually Imparied maintains current and archived minutes and agenda on its website (http://www.tsbvi.edu/board-of-trustees-info-and-minutes-items).
The record copies of meeting agenda and minutes are maintained by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Detailed Description of the Records