Page images

2. To revoke for cause any certificate granted by them.

3. To perform the following duties for all parts of the county outside of cities having boards of education: adopt a county course of study for elementary schools, grant diplomas to pupils who have completed the course of study in elementary schools, and approve courses of study which have been adopted for high schools by high school boards. City boards of education have charge of these matters in their respective jurisdictions.

4. To serve as a high school board in case one or more county high schools are maintained.

188. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction. — The superintendent of public instruction is at the head of the state school system. He is elected at the general state election every four years and has his office in the capitol. His official duties, however, require him to spend a large part of his time in traveling about the state. His most important duties are as follows:

1. He must see that the state laws relating to the public schools are enforced; and must compile and print all such laws in pamphlet form, and “supply school officers and school libraries with one copy each.”

2. He must apportion the state school fund among the various counties, and must furnish an abstract of his apportionment to each county auditor, treasurer, and superintendent of schools, as well as to the financial officers of the state. He must draw his warrant on the state controller in favor of each county treasurer covering the amount apportioned to the county.

3. Every even-numbered year, on or before the 15th of September, he must report to the governor the condition

1 Political Code, 88 1532, 1533.

of the public schools, and of all other educational institutions supported by the state. This report must show, besides other things, the number of pupils and teachers, and the total amount of money collected and spent for school purposes in each county in the entire state. It must be printed and bound in order that copies may be supplied to persons who desire it.

4. He is the executive officer of the state board of education, and is its secretary unless it chooses some one else for that position. He is a member of the board of regents of the University of California, of the board of trustees of the State Polytechnic School, and of the board of trustees of each of the eight state normal schools.

5. He must print and furnish to school officers all necessary blank forms, must visit all orphan asylums which receive state aid, and must interpret the school law when called upon to do so. He gives advice to the governor and members of the legislature relative to school matters, supervises the work of the assistant superintendents, and, in general, superintends and represents the public schools of the state.

189. The State Board of Education.1 The state board of education consists of seven members appointed by the governor each for four years. Regular meetings of the board are held in Sacramento once every three months, and special meetings may be called at any time. Each member receives $15 a day for the time he devotes to the public service, in addition to traveling expenses. The superintendent of public instruction is the executive officer of the board, and must act as its secretary unless it chooses another person for that position. The most important duties of the board are as follows:

1 See section 7, article IX of the constitution. See also Political Code, 81517 seq.

1. To make rules for the government of the public schools. These rules must not, of course, conflict with any state law.

2. “To prescribe by general rule the credentials upon which persons may be granted certificates to teach in the high schools of this state. No credentials shall be prescribed or allowed, unless the same, in the judgment of the board, are the equivalent of a diploma of graduation from the University of California.” Such credentials must also give evidence of special training in pedagogy.

3. To grant life diplomas to holders of teachers' certificates of any grade who have taught forty-eight months.

4. To revoke certificates or life diplomas “for immoral or unprofessional conduct, or for evident unfitness for teaching."

5. To adopt a uniform series of textbooks for the elementary schools of the state. Such books may be purchased from publishing companies when necessary, but most of them are printed and bound at the state printing office. The board gains the right to print them by entering into contracts with authors and publishers. They are distributed to the elementary school children of the state free of cost.

6. To appoint three assistant superintendents of public instruction: one to be known as commissioner of elementary schools, one as commissioner of secondary schools, and one as commissioner of industrial and vocational schools. It is the duty of each assistant to investigate the schools under his supervision and to recommend needed changes to the state board and to local school authorities. The salary of each assistant is $4000 a year.

1 See constitution, article IX, section 7.

190. School Finances. — Money for the support of our public elementary and high schools is supplied by the state, the counties, and the various school districts.

The state school fund for the support of the elementary schools is derived from the following sources:

1. From an appropriation by the legislature equal to $13 a year for each pupil in the state, calculated on the basis of the average daily attendance at school during the preceding year. This is appropriated from the money received from the state corporation tax.

2. From a poll tax of two dollars each on all men in the state, except paupers, insane persons, and Indians not taxed, between twenty-one and sixty years of age. As we have seen, this is collected by county assessors.

3. From an appropriation of $250,000 a year from the state inheritance tax.

4. From the interest on bonds which the state holds in trust for the school fund. When California was acquired by the United States it contained vast areas of land which no one owned. This became government land. According to acts of Congress which had been passed in 1785 and in 1848, one eighteenth of this land — that is, two sections out of every congressional township — became the property of the state for the support of the public schools (§ 137). By another act of Congress which had been passed in 1841, the state received 500,000 additional acres of public land, and this has also been dedicated to the support of the public schools. Most of this land has been sold and the money has been invested in state, county, and city bonds. In

In 1906 Congress granted to each state 5 per cent of the amount received from the sale of government lands within its

1 Political Code, $ 1817 seq., as amended 1911.

borders since 1882. California received nearly one million dollars from this source, and this money has also been invested in bonds for the benefit of the schools. All these bonds, representing in 1912 an investment of nearly $7,000,000, are held by the state treasurer, and the interest from them is placed each year in the state school fund.

5. From interest on unsold school lands. A good many persons have entered into contracts with the state for school lands. They are permitted to occupy the lands, the title to which remains in the state, as long as they pay interest on the contract price. Any person entering into such a contract may pay the purchase price and receive a deed to the land at any time.

The state high school fund consists entirely of an appropriation by the legislature equal to $15 a year for each high school pupil in the state, calculated on the basis of the average daily attendance at school during the preceding year. This, like the appropriation for the elementary schools, comes from the state corporation tax.

The state school funds are apportioned each year among the various counties by the superintendent of public instruction. In apportioning the fund for the elementary schools he allows to each county $250 for each teacher to which the county is entitled, and divides the balance among the counties according to the average daily attendance at school during the preceding year. In apportioning the high school fund he divides one third of it equally among the high schools of the state that are entitled to state aid,

1 The average daily attendance both of elementary and high school pupils is reported each year to the state controller by the superintendent of public instruction. He derives the data for his report from the reports of the various county superintendents.

« PreviousContinue »