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* Although the joint action of the requisite legal autho
rity of all the towns from portions of which a joint district is composed, is necessary to any alteration of such district, yet where such alteration involves the dissolution of the joint district, the powers of the joint board cease with the order for such dissolution; and the proper officers of each of the towns resume their jurisdiction over the inhabitants and territory belonging to their town. The co-operation of the other members of the joint board, in such subsequent proceedings, although unnecessary and irregular, would not however, it is presumed vitiate the proceedings.
In the formation or alteration of joint districts, a joint board must in all cases be formed. The officers of one town cannot concur in the proceedings of those of another, at a subsequent period. They have no power to act, either separately or by proxy. They can neither give their consent beforehand to what their colleagues may do, nor can they afterwards in any mode render that valid, which was before illegal and void.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES APPLICABLE TO THE FORMATION AND
ALTERATION OF DISTRICTS.
The great aim of the officers to whom this duty has been confided should be to form, as far as may be practicable, permanent and efficient districts, competent both in respect to taxable property and number of children, to sustain good schools, for from eight to ten months of each year, and affording all requisite facilities for the regular attendance of all the children entitled to participate in the benefits of the school. Whenever alterations may become necessary or expedient, the utmost care should be taken to secure the general co-operation of the inhabitants interested, and to avoid all those sources of contention and discord which are so fatal to the prosperity, harmony and efficiency of the district. It is better to submit to many temporary and local inconveniences, than to hazard the disastrous results which almost uniformly follow any general dissatisfaction with contemplated alterations, even though such alterations may upon the whole be judicious and advantageous. “The good sense of a district may
De relied upon, to perceive ultimately its true interest, and the loss of time in attaining the desired end is unimportant when compared with the consequences of defeating the wishes of a decided majority,” or even of a respecta ble minority " of a district.”
School districts must be composed of contiguous terrı. tory: and it has been decided that when a person is set off from one district to another, and there are lands between the farm so set off and the district to which it is annexed, such intermediate territory passes to the latter.
In his annual report to the legislature for the year 1843, the Superintendent, (Col. YOUNG,) observes, “ One of the most formidable obstacles to the efficiency of our common schools is believed to be the unnecessary multiplication and subdivision of districts. In those portions of the state where the population is scattered over a large extent of territory, the convenience and accommodation of the inhabitants require the formation of districts comprising a small amount of taxable property, applicable to the support of schools and a limited number of children. But where an opposite state of things exists, the interests of education will be most effectually promoted, by assigning to each district the greatest extent of territory compatible with securing to the children the requisite facilities for their regular attendance at the schools."
In a case coming before him on appeal, in 1835, Gen. Dix observes in reference to this subject : “Almost all the existing evils of the common school system have their origin in the limited means of the school district. The tendency is to subdivision and to a contraction of their territorial boundaries. This consequence must follow in some degree from the increase of population ; but the subdivision of school districts tends to advance in a much greater ratio. . The average number of children in our school districts is about fifty-five. No school district should number less than forty children between five and sixteen years of age. From the observations he has made, the Superintendent deems it due to the common school system, that no new district shall be formed with a much smaller number, unless peculiar circumstances render it proper to make it an exception to the general rule. In feeble districts, cheap instructors, poor and ill furnished schoolhouses, and a general languor of the cause of education are almost certain to be found.”—Com. School, Dec. 220.
II. APPORTIONMENT AND PAYMENT OF PUBLIC MONEY.
By subdivisions 5, 6 and 7 of $ 20 of the school act, (No. 24) it is made the duty of the Town Superintendents “ To apply for and receive from the county treasurer, all moneys apportioned for the use of common schools in their town, and from the collector of the town, all moneys raised therein for the same purpose, as soon as such moneys shall become payable, or be collected, and to apportion the school moneys received by them, on the first Tuesday of April, in each year, among the several school districts, parts of districts, and neighborhoods separately set off, within their town, in proportion to the number of children residing in each, over the age of five and under that of sixteen years, as the same shall have appeared from the last annual reports of their respective trustees. If they shall have received the school moneys of their town, and all the reports from the several school districts therein, before the first Tuesday in April, they shall apportion such moneys as above directed, within ten days after receiving all of the said reports and the said moneys. The practice of making two divisions of the public money among the districts in the course of the year, is contrary to the express provision of the statute. The sixth subdivision of section 20 (No. 24) makes it the duty of the Town Superintendent to apportion the school moneys received by him on the first Tuesday of April in each year; and by the 7th subdivision of the same section, if he have received reports from all the districts before that day, he is to divide the money within ten days after receiving all the reports and the money.
He will receive from the town collector a sum equal to that received from the county treasurer, for the support of common schools and the purchase of books. The aggregate, composed of these two sums, is to be apportioned by him among the school districts of his town, in proportion to the number of children over five and under sixteen years of age, as that number appears by the annual report dated the 1st of January preceding.
The annual reports of the trustees of the several districts are, as will be seen hereafter under the appropriate head required to be made and transmitted to the Town Superintendent, between the first and fifteenth of January in each year; and the public money from all sources is payable immediately after its receipt by the county treasurer and town collector, on the first of February. If, therefore, the reports of the respective trustees are made within the time prescribed by law, ample opportunity will be afforded to the Town Superintendent to point out all errors and deficiencies in them, and to enable the trustecs either to make the necessary corrections or to apply to the department for relief, before the apportionment is finally made. In making the apportionment, the Town Superintendent is first to assign to each district, from which the necessary report has been received, or which is entitled to share in the apportionment, its proportion of the public money received from all sources, according to the number of children between the ages of five and sixteen, designating the respective proportions of teachers' and library money belonging to each district. This designation will be most readily made by deducting from the aggregate sum to be distributed one-fifth of double the amount apportioned by the state, and received from the county treasurer, and making the apportionment accordingly. The teachers' money is to be paid over "on the written order of a majority of the trustees of each district, to the teachers entitled to receive the same." It will therefore be incumbent on the Town Superintendent to satisfy himself, both of the genuineness of the order, and that the person presenting it has the certificate of the trustees that he is or was a teacher of the district, and duly qualified according to law. In order to entitle a district to its share of teachers' money, it must appear from its annual report, “ that a school had been kept therein for at least four months during the year, ending at the date of such report, by a qualified teacher," after obtaining a certificate of competency from the proper authority; that all the teachers' money received during the year has been expended in the payment of such teacher ; "that no other than a duly qualified teacher had at any time during the year for more than one month been employed to teach the school in said
district ;' and such report must, in all other respects, be in accordance with law, and the requisitions and instructions of the Superintendent, made in pursuance of law. In other words, it must be in the form prescribed by the Superintendent, and must contain all the information required by law and by the department to be given.
The library money is to be paid over to, or on the order of, a majority of the trustees, on its appearing from the annual report that “the library money received at the last preceding apportionment was duly expended according to law, in the purchase of books suitable for a district library, or in the purchase of maps, globes, black-boards, or other scientific apparatus for the use of the schools, in the cases and in the mode prescribed by law, on or before the first day of October subsequent to such apportionment.” The report must uniformly be accompanied with a cata logue of the library, and must state accurately the number of volumes and their condition; and when the money has been expended in the purchase of apparatus, &c. the authority under which such expenditure has been made, and a full and particular inventory of the articles purchased, must be specifically reported.
By the third subdivision of original section 5, of title 2, of chapter 11, part 1, R. S. (6, of the second edition,) No. 403, the electors of each town are authorized, at their annual meeting, to direct a sum to be raised in their town for the support of common schools, for the ensuing year, not exceeding that required by law to be raised by the board of supervisors for that purpose. The sum that may be thus voted, may be equal to the whole amount which the supervisors are authorized to assess on the town, including both library money and teachers' money. This construction follows from the language of the fourth section of the act of 1838, respecting the U. S. Deposit Fund, which directs that the sum of $55,000 stall be annually distributed “ to the support of common schools ;" although it subsequently directs that it shall be applied to the purchase of a library temporarily.
When the money thus voted by a town shall be raised and paid to the Town Superintendent, he should keep a separate account of it, and in his annual report should state, that of the sum received from the town collector