« PreviousContinue »
generally characterize the records, the councils and the proceedings of trustees ignorant and careless of their duty, and anxious only to transfer the inextricable embarrassments of their district, unexplained and inexplicable, to their successors.
One important operation of the provision in question, will be as before observed, to prevent the district from changing the time of its annual meeting, thereby avoiding those frequent misunderstandings as to the period when officers of the district are to be chosen, from which so many profitless and vexatious controversies have arisen.
The duties of trustees may be arranged under the fol. lowing general heads:
1. The receipt and application of public money.
4. The purchase or lease of sites ; and the building, hiring, or purchasing of school-houses, the repairing and furnishing such houses with necessary fuel and appendages, and their custody and safe-keeping ; and the sale of such sites and houses when no longer required for district purposes.
5. The employment of teachers, and their payment; and the making out and collection of rate-bills.
6. Their duties in reference to the district library. 7. The making of annual reports.
8. The accounting to their successors and the district, at the expiration of their term of office; and paying over balances on hand.
9. Suits by and against them. 10. Miscellaneous divisions.
1. THE RECEIPT AND APPLICATION OF PUBLIC MONEY. By the 15th section of the act of 1843, it is made the duty of the Town Superintendent to pay over the propor tion of teachers' money to which each district may be en titled on its annual report for the preceding year, “on the written order of a majority of the trustees of such dis trict to the teacher entitled to receive the same."
This order may be in the following form:
A. B. Esq. Town Superintendent of common schools of the town of
pay C. D. a teacher duly employed by us, and qualified according to law, fifteen dollars, that being the amount which he is entitled to receive, out of the funds in your hands, applicable to the payment of teachers' wages, and apportioned to our district. Dated at this day of
E. F.) Trustees
G. H. No.
Upon the day of the annual apportionment, or as soon as possible thereafter, the trustees should call upon the Town Superintendent, or send one of their number, or the clerk, with an order signed by them, ora majority of them, for the share of library money due their district. If the Town Superintendent withholds such money, without justifiable cause, it is the duty of the trustees to prosecute for the same.—$ 90, (No. 135.)
The teachers should, if possible, present their orders at the same time, so that all the public money belonging to the district may at once be paid over and duly receipted.
Four-fifths of the aggregate amount of public money apportioned by the state and raised by tax in the several counties and towns, together with the avails of all local or town funds of every description, constitute a fund applicable exclusively to the payment of the wages of duly qualified teachers. 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 Su. perintendent, 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.
There are two classes of cases in which relief may be sought for the refusal of the Town Superintendent to apportion or pay over public money to a district.
1st. Where it is supposed his decision is erroneous upon some question of fact, or some principle of law. In such case the remedy is by appeal to the County Superintendent, in the manner prescribed by the regulations concerning appeals. The interest of the district, as well as of other districts, requires that the proceedings should be prompt, as an appeal stays further action by the Town Superintendent.
2d. Where there has been any accidental omission to comply with any provision of law, or any regulation of the Superintendent, in consequence of which an apportion. ment of public money has not been made. In such cases a general authority is given to the State Superintendent, by $ 2 of the act of 1841, (No. 30,) to cause the apportionment to be made, on the equitable eircumstances of the case, and a similar authority is given in relation to library money by the last clause of 6 of the act of 1939, No. 185.)
These provisions are intended only for the cases of accidental and unintentional omissions, and the authority given by them will not be exercised where there is a wil. ful disobedience of law, or a perverse and intended violation of any regulation.
Applications for relief in this class of cases should be made as soon as the omission is discovered, in order to prevent the inconvenience of correcting the apportionment after it has been acted upon; and any unnecessary delay will in itself form a strong ground of declining to grant the relief desired.
The facts and circumstances on which the application is founded must be verified by affidavit.
APPLICATION OF SCHOOL MONEY RAISED BY OR BELONGING TO A
In the preceding remarks relative to Town Superintendents of common schools, some directions are given respecting the money which towns are authorized to vote for the support of common schools, in addition to that raised by the supervisors. Some embarrassment has arisen respecting the application of that portion of the money thus raised by a town, which may be received from
the collector by the trustee or trustees of a joint district, a portion of which is within such town, and the residue is within a town or towns that have not directed a similar additional sum to be raised. It must be supposed that the tax, when voted by a town, is intended for the support of schools therein, as it would be contrary to all principles of equity, that the inhabitants of one town should be obliged to contribute to the education of children belonging to other towns. The Superintendent has accordingly decided that when any portion of the money, voted by a town, comes to the hands of trustees of joint districts, they must apply it exclusively for the benefit of scholars attend. ing the school, who belong to the town thus voting. After applying the “teachers' money” received from the Town Superintendent, which was apportioned by the state, and that raised by the supervisors, under the general law, to the payment of the teachers' wages, they are then to apply the portion of the town money received by the trus, tees, to the payment, as far as it will go, of the amount that is to be collected, by a rate-bill, from the parents of the scholars attending school, who belong to the town that raised the additional sum. The rate-bill for teachers' wages, against the other inhabitants of the district, is to be collected precisely in the same manner as if the addi. tional sum had not been raised.
If there are any other common school funds belonging to the town, arising from their poor-moneys, or from their gospel and school lots, any portion of which is received by the trustees of a joint district, they are to apply such portion' exclusively for the benefit of the parents of the children attending the school belonging to the town own. ing such fund. And the trustees should be careful not to apply any part of the money in their hands, coming from the tax voted by a town, or from its common school fund, to the purchase of a library, or to any other purpose than the support of common schools.
DIVISION OF TEACHERS' MONEY INTO PORTIONS.
By subdivision 9 of $ 75, (No. 103,) trustees are authorized to divide the public moneys received by them, whenever authorized by a vote of their district, into not exceeding four portions for each year; and to assign and apply one of such portions to each quarter or term, during which a school shall be kept in such district for the payment of the teachers' wages, during such quarter or term." Where no action is had on the subject by the district, trustees have the right to appropriate the public money in such proportions to the different terms as they may deem expedient. It is not essential that the public money should be paid exclusively for services rendered during the year in which it is received: if the whole amount received be applied during the year to the payment of the compensation of qualified teachers, it is immaterial whether such wages were earned wholly during that year, or in part the year previous. It is of frequent occurrence for teachers to commence their term in November or December, and end in the succeeding spring; and there is no impropriety or illegality in paying their wages for the whole term, wholly or in part, from the public money received after its close.
The teachers' money can be applied only to the benefit of such schools as are established by trustees of districts in pursuance of law.—Com. School Dec. 55.
Where any portion of the teachers' money is applied to the payment of the wages of a teacher not duly qualified, or is otherwise illegally appropriated, the trustees under whose authority such expenditure is made, are personally liable to the district for the amount.--Id. 213.
ACCOUNT BOOK8. Trustees are required by $ 11, of the act of May 26, 1841, (No. 122,) to keep an account in a book to be provided for that purpose by them, from time to time, as shall be necessary, of all moneys received and paid out by them, in their official capacity; and a statement of all moveable property belonging to the district. This account and statement is to be entered at large, and signed by them, at or before each annual meeting in their district. They should charge themselves, on one page, with the whole amount of money received by them, either from the Town Superintendent, or on tax lists or rate-bills, specifying particularly the source whence derived, and the time when re