Page images

be a teacher of youth. The employment of such a person would be considered a grievance by a great portion of the inhabitants of all the districts.- Per FLAGG, Sup't Id. 60.

Neither the trustees nor the inhabitants of school districts are the judges of the qualifications of teachers. The law has confided the power of examining teachers to officers expressly designated for that purpose ; and it's object was to secure the employment of competent persons. If the trustees or inhabitants are to determine what their districts require, and the certifying officers are to be governed by their opinions and wishes, the officers themselves might as well be dispensed with. In his annual report to the legislature for the year 1835, the Superintendent of Common Schools (Gen. Dix) observes: “One of the most responsible and delicate trusts to be executed under the common 'school system is that of inspecting teachers and pronouncing upon their qualifications. If this is negligently conducted or with a willingness to overlook deficiencies, instead of insisting rigidly upon the requirements of the law, it is manifest that men without the necessary moral character, learning or ability, will gain a foothold in the common schools, and present a seri. ous obstacle to the improvements of which they are sus. ceptible. This would be an evil of the greatest magnitude, and there is no remedy for it but a strict inspection of the candidates. It has been the practice in some instances for the inspectors to have a reference to the particular circumstances of the cases in giving a certificate. Thus they have sometimes given an individual a certifi. cate with a view to a summer school, in which the children taught are usually smaller and require less of the teacher, when the certificate would have been withheld, if it was asked with a view to qualify the teacher for a winter school. But it is obvious that such a distinction is wholly inad. missible. A certificate must be unconditional, by the terms of the law. The inspectors must be satisfied with the qualifications of the teacher “in respect to moral character, learning and ability ;" and the certificate when once given is an absolute warrant for the individual to teach for a year, and to receive the public money, unless revoked before the expiration of the year, in which case

it ceases to be operative from the date of its revocation. The standard of qualification for teachers, so far as granting certificates is concerned, is of necessity, arbitrary. The law does not prescribe the degree of learning or ability which a teacher shall possess, but virtually refers the decision of this important matter to the inspectors, who have not, neither should they possess the power of relaxing the general rule with reference to the circumstances of any particular case, by departing from the standard of qualification which they assume as their guide in others.”—Id. 326.


By $.29 (No. 35) of the school act, and the succeeaing sections, it is made " the duty of the Town Superintendent in each town, between the first day of July and the first day of August, in each year, to make and transmit to the county clerk, a report in writing bearing date on the first day of July, in the year of its transmission, and stating,

1. The whole number of school districts and neighborhoods, separately set off within their town:

2. The districts, parts of districts, and neighborhoods, from which reports shall have been made to him, or his immediate predecessors in office, within the time limited for that purpose :

3. The length of time a school shall have been kept in each of such districts or parts of districts, distinguishing what portion of that time the school shall have been kent by qualified teachers :

4. The amount of public moneys received in each of such districts, parts of districts and neighborhoods :

5. The number of children taught in each, and the number of children over the age of five and under sixteen years, residing in each:

6. The whole amount of moneys received by him or his predecessors in office, during ihe year ending at the date of his report, and since the date of his last preceding report ; distinguishing the amount received from the county treasurer, from the town collector, and from any other and what source :

• 7. The manner in which such moneys have been ex. pended, and whether any, and what part, remains unex. pended, and for what cause :

8. The amount of money paid for teachers' wages, in addition to the public money paid therefor, in the districts, parts of districts and neighborhoods from which reports shall have been received by him or his immediate predecessors in office, with such other information as the Superintendent of Common Schools may from time to time require, in relation to the districts and schools within his town.

Under this provision the Superintendent has required the following additional items of information to be comprised in such annual reports of the Town Superintendents:

*1. The number of times the school in each distriet has been inspected by the County and Town Superintendents, to be taken from the abstract furnished by the trustees :

2. The number of volumes in the library of each district, as returned by the trustees :

3. The amount of money expended in each school district for teachers' wages, besides and beyond the public money apportioned to such district; that is, they will condense from the reports of the trustees the amount paid by individuals, on rate-bills or otherwise, and the amount collected from any local funds :

4. The school books in use in their respective towns This will be compiled from the reports of the trustees, in which the title of each book, and the aggregate number reported in all the districts will be stated : ; 5. The number of joint districts, the school-houses of which are situated wholly or in part in their town:

6. Whether any fines or penalties have been collected by them, and the amount, as herein before required :

7. The attendance of pupils in the several district schools for the following different terms, viz: Those who attended less than two months ;

two months and less than four ; . '
four months and less than six;
six months and less than eight;
eight months and less than ten;
ren months and less than twelve ;
twelve months :

8. The number of select and private schools in their town, other than incorporated .seminaries, and the average number of pupils therein, as stated in the reports of the trustees of the several districts :

9. They are also required to condense, from the reports of the several trustees, the number of schools for colored children taught in their town, specifying the districts in which such schools have been taught, the number of colored children, between the ages of five and sixteen, attending such schools ; and the amount of public money apportioned to the respective districts from which such children attended, specifying such districts.

The most common mistake committed by the Town Superintendents is in their report of the moneys received by them, or their predecessors, since the date of the last report. They often confound this money with that received by trustees of districts, which is an entirely different item. This last item is received on the first Tuesday of April, and reported by the trustees on the first of January fol. lowing, and is embodied in the report of the commissioners among the abstracts of the trustees' reports, in the columns headed “amount of money received in each district.” But the money received by the Town Superintendents is that paid to them by the county treasurer and town collector after the first of January, and apportioned by them on or before the first Tuesday in April, and is not contained in the reports of the trustees.

In making their annual reports the Town Superintendents should see that the several columns of their table are correctly footed, and the figures plainly and distinctly made.

Town Superintendents neglecting to make such report within the limited period, forfeit severally to their town, for the use of the common schools therein, the sum of ten dollars ; and the share of school moneys apportioned to such town for the ensuing year, may, in the discretion of the Superintendent of Common Schools, be withheld, and be distributed among the other towns in the same county, from which the necessary reports shall have been received. When the share of school moneys apportioned to a town shall thus be lost to the town by the neglect of the Town Superintendents, the officer guilty of such neglect forfeits to his town the full amount, with interest, of the moneys so lost. It is the duty of the supervisor of the town, upon notice of such loss, from the Superintendent of Common Schools, or county treasurer, to prosecute without delay in the name of the town, for such forfeiture; and the moneys recovered are required to be distributed and paid by such supervisor to the several districts, parts of districts, or separate neighborhoods of the town, in the same maner as it would have been the duty of the Town Superintend. ent to have distributed and paid them, if received from the county treasurer.—.88 31, 32, 33. (No. 39–41.)



By subdivision 8 of $ 20, Rev. Stat. (No. 24,) the Town Superintendent is to sue for and collect by his name of office, all penalties and forfeitures imposed by the title relating to common schools, where no other provision lis made. Under this provision he is to prosecute for the sum of ten dollars, forfeited by each Town Superintendent neglecting to make an annual report, imposed by $ 31, R, S. (No. 39.) The forfeiture of an amount equal to that lost by his neglect, imposed by $ 32, (No. 40,) is to be sued for by the supervisor. He is also to prosecute for the penalty of one hundred dollars, imposed by $ 38, (No. 46,) upon his predecessors for refusing to render an account, or neglecting to pay over a balance on hand; also for the penalty of five dollars prescribed by $ 58, (No. 69,) upon the refusal or neglect of any inhabitant of a district to serve the notice of the first meeting ; the same penalty for altogether refusing to serve in a district office; and the penalty of ten dollars for neglecting to perform the duties of a district office, not having refused to accept the same. This last penalty must be distinguished from that imposed by $ 6 of the act of May 3, 1839, (No. 166.) That given by No. 100, ($ 72,) is to be recovered for wholly neglecting to perform the duties of a district office, which the incumbent has colorably accepted; see 6 Cowen, 479; while the forfeiture prescribed by No. 166, ($ 6, act: of May 3, 1839,) is for the neglect of any specific duty, and may be collected for any one wilful omission; and the latter is to be sued for by the supervisor of the town.

« PreviousContinue »