Page images

up in ignorance, or instructed in error, rather than contribute the mere trifle which will secure them an education, at least sound and accurate, as far as it goes. When the rewards which other professions and avocations hold out to talent, knowledge and industry, are so liberal, how can it be expected that persons competent to the great business of instruction, should devote themselves to it for a compensation inadequate to their support?

If the public money should be more than sufficient to remunerate the teacher, the trustees should consider whether they may not establish another school, or a distinct department. A large amount of public money, indicates a large number of children over 5 and under 16, and of course there will be the materials for a large school, or for more than one, especially if they are of a character to command respect and inspire confidence.

Should there be a surplus of public money, after paying a fair and just equivalent to the teachers who can be usefully employed, the district will always be relieved from the consequence of not expending the whole, upon application to the Superintendent.

It is the duty of trustees of a school district to have a school kept in the district school-house, wherever there are a number of children to attend sufficient to defray the expenses of a teacher: and if a portion of the public money has been assigned to each portion of the year, then it is their duty to have a school kept whenever the expense can be defrayed by the public money, and the ratebills against those sending children to the school. This principle is applicable as well to summer as to winter schools. Trustees are bound to provide a school, whenever requested by any portion of the inhabitants of the district, able and willing, with the help of the public money or otherwise, to defray its expense: and in this respect they are not to be governed or controlled by any vote of the district. The very object and business of their office is to provide schools ; and no district meeting can abridge their powers, or relieve them from the performance of their duty in this respeect.-Per SPENCER Supt. on appeal.

A practice prevails to some extent, of contracting with teachers that they shall collect the rate-bill, or the sum

that may be deficient after applying the public money. This is wholly illegal, and is sure to involve the trustees and teachers in difficulty. The deficiency must be col. lected by the trustees, by warrant annexed to a rate-bill, and delivered to the collector. The Superintendent has uniformly refused to interfere in all cases where any arrangement for the collection of teachers' wages, other than that prescribed by law, has been made. The ex pression in sub. 8 of Š 75, R. S. (No. 103,) "excepting such sums as may have been collected by the teachers," implies that they may collect their wages. But this can apply only to the case of voluntary payment, and does not justify trustees in abandoning the means of collection provided by law.

Another practice requires notice. It is that of trustees engaging with a te cher that he shall board with the parents of the children alternately. There is no authority for such a contract, and it cannot be enforced on the inhabitants. This compulsory boarding gives occasion to constant altercation and complaint, which often terminates in breaking up the school. The best arrangement is to give the teacher a specific sum and let him board him. self. But there are some districts so destitute that it may afford the inhabitants considerable relief to be permitted to board the teacher. In such cases the object can be obtained in another way. Let the trustees contract with the teacher at a specific sum per month, or by the quarter, and they may then agree with him, that if he shall be afforded satisfactory board at the house of any of the in. habitants, he will allow whatever sum may be agreed on per week for such board, to be applied to his wages, and will give an order on the trustees for the amount, to the person with whom he boards : and the trustees may then accept such order from the inhabitants, as payment to that extent upon his tuition bill, and deduct it from the amount to be paid the teacher, after having paid him the whole of the public money.

It is strongly recommended that all contracts with teachers be made in writing, and a duplicate kept by each party. In no other way can justice be done to the parties in case of any dispute. · The power of the trustees to contract with and employ

teachers, cannot be controlled by the inhabitants; although it should never be exercised, unless under very peculiar circumstances, in opposition to the known wishes of a de. cided majority of the district.

Contracts by trustees of school districts for teachers' wages are binding on them personally, individually, and collectively, while they remain in office; and on their successors after the expiration of their term : and trustees who are not in office, as such, are no longer personally answerable on such contracts. See 7 Wendell, 181, 4 Hill; Com. School Dec. 191, 282.

A contract made by all the trustees of à district, but signed by two only, is binding upon all ; and the presence or concurrence of the third will be presumed from the sig. nature of the remainder. So two trustees may enter into a contract, in the absence of the third, if he was duly notified of a meeting for that purpose, or was consulted, and refused to act.McCoy vs. Comtree, 9 Wend. 17. In short, so far as the rights of third persons are concerned, à contract made by a majority of the trustees will be regarded as prima facie valid and obligatory. The party with whom the contract has been entered into is not bound to enquire whether the requisite preliminary steps to authorize the majority to act without the presence or concurrence of the third trustee have been taken or not.

If a teacher's certificate is annulled, the trustees are at liberty to dismiss him, and to rescind their contract with him. They engage him as a qualified teacher, and the moment he ceases to be so, there is a failure of the consideration for the contract. If however, the trustees continue him to the school after notice that his certificate has been annulled, it will be regarded as such a continuance of the contract that they will not be allowed at a subgequent period to dispute it.-Com. School Dec. 212.


This is specifically provided for by $ 75, (No. 103,) above referred to. By subdivision 8, the trustees are “to pay the wages of such teachers, when qualified, out of the moneys which shall” be in the hands of the Town Superintendent of common schools, subject to their order, “ so far as such moneys shall be sufficient for that purpose ; and to collect the residue of such wages, excepting such sums as may have been collected by the teachers, from all persons liable therefor.”

By subdivisions 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, they are :

“ To divide the public (teachers'] moneys” due the dis, trict “whenever authorized by a vote of such district, into not exceeding four portions for each year; 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 ; and to collect the residue of such wages, not paid by the proportion of public money allotted for that purpose, from the persons liable therefor, as above provided :

"To exempt from the payment of the wages of teachers, such indigent persons within the districts as they shall think proper:

" To certify such exemptions, and deliver the certificate thereof to the clerk of the district, to be kept on file in his office:

“ To ascertain by examination of the school lists kept by such teachers, the number of days for which each person not so exempted, shall be liable to pay for instruction, and the amount payable by each person :

To make out a rate-bill containing the name of each person so liable, and the amount for which he is liable, adding thereto five cenis on each dollar of the sum due from him, for collectors' fees; and to annex thereto a warrant for the collection thereof: and

“To deliver such rate bill, with the warrant annexed, to the collector of the district, who shall execute the same in like manner with other warrants directed to him by them."

By Ø 13, of the act of 1841, (No. 104,) “the trustees of any school district are authorized to exempt any indi. gent person from the payment of the teachers' wages, either in part or wholly, and shall certify the whole amount of such exemption in any one quarter or term, and the same shall be a charge upon such district.” And

By 30, of the same act, (No. 106,)“ where, by reason of the inability to collect any tax or rate-bill, there shall be a deficiency in the amount raised, the inhabitants of

the district, in district meeting, shall direct the raising of a sufficient sum to supply such deficiency, by tax, or the same shall be collected by rate-bill, as the case may require.

In accordance with these several provisions, trustees of districts, in making out their rate-bills, will proceed as follows:

1. They will first ascertain the amount due to the teacher, under his contract, for the quarter's services.

2. They will then apply so much of the public money as is applicable to the term, in diminution of such amount.

3. They will assess the balance upon each inhabitant who has sent to the school during the term, (including indigent persons) according to the number of children and of days sent by each, as appears by the verified list kept by the teacher, under the 11th section of the aforesaid act. (No. 122.)

4. They will then proceed to exempt, either wholly or in part, such indigent inhabitants as they may think proper, from the payment of their proportions of such assessment, certify the whole amount of such exemptions, and deliver the certificate thereof to the clerk of the district, to be kept by him.

5. They will then collect the balance of the rate-bill against those exempted in part, for the amount remaining after such partial exemption, and against those not exempted either wholly or in part, for the amounts assessed against them respectively, by warrant, in the usual manner. Such warrants need not be under seal, and may be executed by the collector “ in any other district or town, in the same manner, and with the like authority, as in the district for which he was chosen or appointed.” (No. 132.)

6. The trustees will collect the amount of exemptions, as certified by them, by a tax, which they are authorized to impose by the 14th section (No, 127,) upon all the taxable inhabitants of the district, “ in the same manner as if the definite sum to be raised had been voted by a district meeting.” They may immediately proceed to impose this tax; or they may add the amount to any tax thereafter imposed for district purposes, as may be most Convenient.

« PreviousContinue »