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Dated at Trenton, this first day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
A. B., Town Superintendent of Common Schools.
No. of children
between 5 & 16 taught in co
lored schools. Amount of public
money received from child'n at. tending colored
schools. Amt. paid for tea. chers' wages in col'd schools besides pub. mo
ney. No. of times visited by
CO. supt. No. of times visi.
ted by town su.
perintendent. No. of pupils who
have attended less than 2 mos.
9 months and less
4 months and less
6 months and less
8 months and less
10 months & less
Number of se
lect and private
schools. No. of pupils at
tending. No. of vols. in district library.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF INHABITANTS OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
By Ø 62 (No. 78) of the school act, it is provided that an annual meeting shall be held at the time and place previously appointed; and at the first district meeting, and at each annual meeting, the time and place of holding the next annual meeting shall be fixed.”
Annual meetings need not be precisely one year apart. The time may be a few days or weeks more or less than a year, if the inhabitants think it necessary. For instance, an annual meeting held on the first Tuesday of October may be adjourned to the second Tuesday of October of the next year. The propriety of the act in every case must depend upon the circumstances attending it. No general rule as to the extent of the variation from a year can be laid down as applicable to all cases.-Com. School Dec. 289.
It is proper, however, to observe, that as by the act of 1843 one trustee only is hereafter to be annually elected, who holds his office for three years, and as in case of a vacancy, such vacancy is to be supplied only for the unexpired term lest vacant, the variations in the time of holding the annual meeting ought not to exceed three or four weeks. The time from one annual meeting to another must always be considered and treated as one year,
By § 17 of the act of 1841, (No. 79,) “ Whenever the time for holding annual meetings in a district, for the election of district officers shall pass without such election being held, a special meeting shall be notified by the clerk of such district to choose such officers ; and if no such notice be given by him or the trustees last elected or appointed, within twenty days after such time shall have passed, any inhabitant of such district qualified to vote at district meetings, may notify such meeting in the manner
provided by law in case of the formation of a new district; and the officers chosen at any such special meeting, shall hold their office until the time for holding the next annual meeting."
By 5 4 of chap. 360, Laws of 1839, (No. 80,) “When the clerk, and all the trustees of a school district, shall have removed, or otherwise vacated their office, and where the records of a district shall have been destroyed or lost, or where trustees neglect or refuse to call meetings to choose trustees, the Superintendent of Common Schools shall have authority to order such meetings."
By 19 of the act of 1841, (No. 81) “ When in consequence of the loss of the records of a school district, or the omission to designate the day for its annual meeting, there shall be none fixed, or it cannot be ascertained, the last trustee of such district may appoint a day for holding the annual meeting of such district.”
If an annual meeting is held at the time and place appointed at or adjourned from the annual meeting of the preceding year, the proceedings will be deemed valid, notwithstanding the omission of the clerk to give the notices prescribed by law.
Where the place and time of day for holding the annual meeting are not designated by the inhabitants, the usual place and time of day for holding such meetings will be understood, and the notices of the clerk should correspond thereto. When assembled, the inhabitants may adjourn to any other convenient place: but the clerk cannot, in his notices for the annual meeting, designate any other than the usual place for holding such meeting, where the inhabitants at their last annual meeting omitted to specify any place.—Com. School Dec. 129, 141.
The law has not specified what number of inhabitants shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a district meeting, annual or special: and accordingly the proceedings, if otherwise regular, will not be disturbed by reason of the paucity of attendance on the part of the inhabitants, where the notice has been fair and public, and there is no room for the allegation of surprise. A reasonable time, should, however, be allowed for the inhabitants to assemble, after which those in attendance may legally proceed to the transaction of any district business.
By 6 63 (No. 82) it is provided that " a special meeting shall be held in each district whenever called by the trustees; and the proceedings of no district meeting, annual or special, shall be held illegal, for want of a due notice to all the persons qualified to vote thereat, unless it shall appear that the omission to give such notice was wilful and fraudulent."
This latter provision was intended for cases where through accident or mistake, the proper legal notice has not been given to all who are entitled to it: but it cannot be construed to extend to cases in which no attempt is made to give the notice required by law to any of the inhabitants. Where the clerk of a district undertakes to give a notice in the manner provided by the statute, and has failed, unintentionally, to serve such notice on all the persons entitled to receive it, or where such notice is ime perfectly served, the proceedings of the meeting will not be void on that account. They may, however, be set aside on appeal, on showing sufficient cause.—Com. School Dec. 186, 223.
The law does not, in terms, prescribe that the object for which a special meeting is called shall be stated in the notice for such meeting. This duty is however enjoined by the Superintendent.—Com. School Dec. 354.
The opportunities afforded by the coming together of the inhabitants of each district, for deliberation and consultation in relation to their schools, and the various interests connected therewith, are calculated to exert a most beneficial influence in favor of education; to promote union, harmony and concert of action in the several districts; and to cement the ties of friendly social intercourse between those having a common interest in the moral and intellectual culture of their children. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that they should not be neglected ; that the inhabitants should be prompt and uniform in their attendance; and that the proceedings should be invariably characterized with that order, regularity, dignity and decorum which can alone command respect, and advance efficiently the objects to be accomplished. To secure as far as possible the attainment of these desirable ends, it is proposed in this place to examine the powers and duties of the inhabitants, when assembled in district meeting, the
mode of proceeding, the keeping of the minutes and records, the qualifications of voters, and some other subjects of general interest, connected with the proceedings of district meetings.
1. POWERS AND DUTIES OF INHABITANTS WHEN ASSEMBLED IN
These are particularly specified in $ 61, (No. 74,) of the original act, and have been considerably extended by subsequent enactments, which will be noticed in their order. They are, to appoint a moderator; to adjourn from time to time as occasion may require ; to choose district officers at their first meeting upon the organization of the district, and as often as vacancies occur, by expiration of the term of office, or otherwise; to designate a site for a district school-house ; to lay such tax on the taxable inhabitants of the district as the meeting shall deem sufficient to purchase or lease a suitable site for a schoolhouse, and to build, hire, or purchase such school-house, and to keep in repair and furnish the same with necessary fuel and appendages; and to repeal, alter and modify their proceedings from time to time as occasion may require.
By the 10th section of the act of 1841, (No. 76,) the inhabitants are authorized, with the consent of the Town Superintendent of common schools, to designat esites for two or more school houses for their district, and to lay a tax for the purchase or lease thereof, and for the purchase, hiring or building of school houses thereon, and the keep'ing in repair and furnishing the same with necessary fuel and appendages.
This provision authorizing more than one site and school house, is intended for the accommodation of those districts that
may be so peculiarly situated as to render a division inconvenient or not desirable. A banking or other corporation, or some manufacturing establishment liable to tax
thus be rendered beneficial to a large territory and a greater number of inhabitants, instead of having its contributions applied for the benefit of a few. And in populous places, it may often be convenient to have a 'school for very young children distant from that attended