The state office of superintendent of public instruction was established by the legislature in 1884 and was made a two-year elective office in 1905. The position was first established by the Constitution of 1866, although as early as 1854 the state treasurer had been made ex officio state superintendent. The chief duties of the office were to administer the school laws and exercise general supervision over the public schools of the state, purchase and distribute textbooks, prorate the available school fund according to scholastic population, issue teachers' certificates, classify and accredit public schools, and administer the rural-aid law. The state superintendent also served, ex officio, as secretary of the state board of education (see TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY). The position of state superintendent of public instruction was replaced under the Gilmer-Aikin Laws by that of commissioner of education.