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any person named in any tax list or rate bill, shall not be paid by him, or collected by such warrant within the time îherein limited, it may be lawful for the trustees to renew such warrant, in respect to such delinquent person; or in case such person shall not reside within their district, at the time of making out a tax list or rate bill, or shall not reside therein at the expiration of such warrant, and no goods or chattels can be found therein whereon to levy the same; the trustees may sue for and recover the same, in their name of office.
Any second or subsequent renewal of such warrant must be with the written approbation of the Town Superintendent endorsed thereon.
Trustees may legally renew the warrants of their predecessors in office.-Com. School Dec. 27.
Where a district meeting votes to renew a warrant and collect a tax, the trustees may regard it as an original vote, and issue a new warrant for its collection.-Id.
IV. DUTIES OF TRUSTEES IN RELATION TO THE PURCHASE. CUSTO. DY AND SALE OF SCHOOL-HOUSES AND SITES, THE REPAIR OF SUCH HOUSES, AND FURNISHING THEM WITH NECESSARY FUEL AND APPENDAGES.
1. PURCHASE, REPAIR AND CUSTODY OF SCHOOL-HOUSE.
By sub. 5, of § 75 of the school act, (No. 103,) it is made the duty of trustees, and they are empowered " to purchase or lease a site for the district school-house, as designated by a meeting of the district; and to build, hire, or purchase, keep in repair and furnish such school. house with necessary fuel and appendages, out of the funds collected and paid to them for such purpose.”
If trustees undertake to remove a school-house, buy a lot for a site, or do any other act which they are not by law authorized to do without a vote of the inhabitants of the district, it is at their own peril. The inhabitants may ratify their proceedings by a subsequent vote; but if they do not choose to do so, the trustees are without remedy. -Com. School Dec. 41, 222.
But where the inhabitants of a school district have, by a vote to that effect authorized their trustees to make repairs or do any other lawful act, involving an expenditure of money, they will be required to save them harmless, provided they have acted in good faith. The inhabitants may always limit a contemplated expenditure by voting a specific sum for the purpose. But if they neglect to do so, and give a general direction to the trustees to go on and make repairs, &c., without restricting the amount to be expended, the Superintendent will, on the refusal of the inhabitants after the work is done to indemnify them, for their reasonable and bona fide expenditures, order a tax to be levied for the amount.-Id. 222.
By sub. 6 of $ 75, above referred to, it is provided that the trustees shall “ have the custody and safe-keeping of the district school-house."
Questions have frequently arisen, as to the extent of the power conferred by this last subdivision; and to what uses the school-house should be confined by the trustees.
The general principle in relation to questions of this nature arising in the several school districts, is this: that it is the duty of the trustees to exercise such a general supervision over the care and management of the district school-house, as that the instruction of pupils in the school shall not be embarrassed by any use of the house other than for school purposes; and that the property of the district, and the furniture, books, and papers belonging to the school, or the pupils, shall not be injured or destroyed. Any use of the house in subordination to these restrictions, and not inconsistent with the main purposes for which it was designed, must be left to the determination and pleasure of those to whom it belongs, whose wishes and directions, in this respect, the trustees are bound to carry out. The school-house is the property of the district, and subject to its control, within the limitations of the law. The purpose for which it was erected must be pursued, and nothing can be suffered to interfere with that. But when that purpose is accomplished, there is neither reason nor law for prohibiting its application to any object of social or moral improvement which the niajority of the inhabitants may sanction. Upon this principle, and subject to the restrictions and limitations referred to, it may be used, out of school hours, and when not wanted for any district purposes, for religious meetings, Sunday schools, lectures, debating societies, or any other moral, literary, or useful purpose, with the approbation
of a majority of the district and the consent of the trustees, or any two of them.
Trustees cannot, however, allow any part of the district school-house to be occupied for any other purpose than than that of the district school, while such school is actually in progress. Com. School Dec. 51.
Select or private schools will not be permitted to be kept in the district school-house.-Id. 119.
Except in extraordinary cases, schools must be kept in the district school-house : and by Ø 35 of the act of 1841, (No. 141,) “ Whenever it shall be necessary, for the accommodation of the children in any district, the trustees may hire temporarily any room or rooms, for the keeping of schools therein ; and the expense thereof shall be a charge on such district."
If there is no school-house in the district a school cannot be opened by the trustees until the inhabitants have designated the place.-Com. School Dec. 190.
2. SALE OF SCHOOL HOUSE AND SITE.
A very important branch of the duties incumbent upon trustees, is that which relates to the disposition of the school-house and site, when no longer required for district purposes. By § 4, of chap. 44, of the Laws of 1831, (No. 88,) the inhabitants of the district are authorized, whenever the site of the school-house has been legally changed, to direct the sale of the former site, together with the buildings and appurtenances, or any part thereof at such price and upon such terms as they shall deem most advantageous to the district. In this case the trustees act merely as the ministerial officers of the district, and are bound to carry out the directions of the inhabitants. They are to execute the necessary conveyances to the purchaser; and when a credit is directed to be given for any portion of the consideration money, they are to take, in their corporate name, such security, by bond and mort. gage or otherwise, as they may think proper; to hold the same as a corporation, and account to their successors ; and they are also authorized, in their name of office to sue for and recover the moneys due and unpaid upon any security so taken by them, or their predecessors, with interest and costs. They are by § 5, of the same act, (No. 89,) to apply the moneys arising from such sale to the expenses incurred in procuring a new site, and in remov. ing or erecting a school-house, so far as such application shall be necessary.
By $ 4 of chap. 308 of Laws of 1835, (No. 90,) trustees are vested with the necessary power to sell and convey the old site, whenever a new one has been legally selected, upon such terms as they shall deem advantageous to the district. This provision is somewhat repugnant to that in No. 88, and would seem to give the power of disposing of the school-house to the trustees absolutely, with. out a vote of the district. But on the principle of construing statutes on the same subject so as to give effect to each, as far as possible, the better course would be for the trustees to execute this power only when the district has not expressed its will on the subject.
By 93 of the act of 1811, (No. 95,) “Whenever two or more districts or parts of districts shall be united, and there shall be more than one school-house in such new or altered district, the trustees of such district may sell the site and buildings thereon, of either or both the school. houses situated in such new district.”
3. MODES OF PROVIDING FUEL. • There are three modes of providing fuel for the use of school districts. lsi. By a specific tax for that purpose, to be voted by the inhabitants : 2d. Where this mode is not adopted, the trustees are directed by $ 85, (No. 124,) to determine the proportion which every person sending children to school shall be liable to provide, according to the number sent by each, exempting indigent persons: and 3d. “If any person liable to provide such fuel, shall omit to provide the same, on notice from any one of such trus. · tees, it shall be the duty of the trustees to furnish such fuel, and to charge the person so in default, the value of, or amount paid for, the fuel furnished,” Ø 86, (No. 125,) and to add such amount to his rate-bill, or prosecute for and collect the same. $ 87, (No. 126.)
Trustees should see that the respective proportions of fuel are promptly furnished by the inhabitants, or the amount due, on neglect, promptly collected.
The statute uses the term "fuel," which imports wood or other material in a state fit for use. The trustees should not receive large or green logs, which require splitting or cutting ; but should require the wood to be adapted to the fireplace or stove. Unless this is done by those who are to furnish the fuel, there are no means of having it prepared. It cannot be said to be the duty of the teacher, or of the pupils, to cut or split, or in any way to prepare the materials sent for use. Great inconvenience has been frequently experienced from the omission to supply proper fuel, and the schools have often been dismissed in consequence.
Fuel provided for school districts, whether paid for by a tax or furnished by the inhabitants who send children to school, cannot be used for any other than school purposes, even though directed by a vote of the inhabitants of the district: and trustees are legally responsible for any improper or unauthorized use of the fuel provided for the school.-Com. School Dec. 156, 289.
Non-residents of the district are taxable for fuel, in the same manner and to the same extent as for any other district purpose. Id. 207.
V THE EMPLOYMENT OF TEACHERS AND THEIR PAYMENT, AND
THE MAKING OUT AND COLLECTING OF RATE BILLS.
1. CONTRACTS WITH TEACHERS.
By súb. 7 of $ 75, (No. 103,) trustees are “to contract with and employ all teachers in the district.”
The most fruitful source of difficulty in school districts, has been the looseness and irregularity with which these contracts have been made. In some districts the trustees áre in the habit of agreeing to pay the teacher the whole amount of public money that should be received, be it more or less. This is unjust to the teacher or the district, and has almost always led to contention. The agreement should be to pay him a specific sum by the month or by the quarter, adequate to the value of his services. If the public money is not sufficient, the deficiency should be supplied by a rate-bill. It is not to be believed that any intelligent citizens will consider that sordidness to be economy, which prefers that their children should be brought