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OFFICIAL. State of New.York—Secretary's Office Department of Common Schools.
THE NEW SCHOOL ACT, WITH EXPLANATIONS. •
AN ACT amentiatory of the several acts rela. 1 ed thereby, may apply to the supervisor and ting to Common Schools.
Itown clerk to be associated with the town super. Passed April 17, 1843. 1 101 intendent; an] their action shall be final unless
duly appealed from ; the compensation of the The People of the State of New York repre. supervisor and town clerk when thus associated, sented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as fol shall be the same as that of the town superin. lows : :
tendent. SECTION 1. The offices of commissioners and § 4. The board of supervisors of any county, inspectors of common schools are hereby abol. in which there shall be more than one hundred ished.
and fifty school districts, may appoint two § 2. There shall hereafter be annually elect county superintendents, or one in their discre. ed in each of the towns of this state, at the tion; and at all such appointments hereafter same time and in the same manner that other made, the board shall divide the county into two town officer are chosen, an officer to be denomi convenient districts, designating the person apnated " Town Superintendent of Common pointed for each district respectively, when Schools," who in addition to the powers and there shall be two appointed ; but no share duties hereinafter conferred and imposed, shall of the public money shall hereafter be ap. perform all the duties, and be subject to all the portioned to any county in which a county restrictions and liabilities now by law imposed superintendent shall not have been appointed, upon commissioners and inspectors of common unless by order of the superintendent of com. schools, except as otherwise herein provided. mon schools. It shall be his duty, within ten days after his 5. Any county superintendent may be re. election, to execute to the supervisor of his town moved from office by the superintendent of com. and file with the town clerk, a bond with one or mon schools, whenever in his judgment suffi. more sufficient sureties, to be approved or by cient cause for such removal exists; and the said supervisor by endorsement over his signa.) vacancy thereby occasioned shall be supplied by ture on said bond, in the penalty of double the appoiniment under his hand and official seal,until amount of school' money which his town re- the next meeting of the board of supervisors of ceived from all sources during the year prece. the county in which such vacancy exists. A ding that for which he shall have been elected, copy of the order making such removal, speci. conditioned (or the faithful application and legal | fying the causes thereof, shall be forwarded to disbursement of all the school money coming the clerk of the board of supervisors, to be by into his hands. In case such bond shall not be him laid before the board at their first meeting. executed and filed within the time herein spe- $ 6. The moiety of the compensation of the cified, the office of such town superintendent county superintendent of any county payable shall be deemed vacant, and such or other va- | by the state, shall not hereafter be paid, except cancy shall be filled in the same manner as va. upon the production to the comptroller of the cancies in the office of commissioners of com. | certificate of the superintendent of common mon schools are now by law directed to be filled. schools, that the county superintendent has con. Such town superintendent shall be entitled to a formed to the instructions of the department compensation of one dollar and twenty-five and also made the annual report required by cents for every day necessarily spent in the dis. | law. charge of the duties of his office, to be audited § 7. All appeals now authorized by law to be and allowed as other town charges.
| brought to the superintendent of common $ 3. In the erection or alteration of a school schools, shall first be presented to the county district, the trustees of any district to be affect. I superintendent of the county, or section of
county in which the subject matter of such ap. district shall discover any error in a tax list or peal shall have originated, in the same manner rate bill made out by them, prior to the expenas now provided in relation to appeals to the diture of the amount therein directed to be superintendent of common schools, who is raised, they may refund any amount improper. hereby authorized and required to examine and ly collected on such tax list or rate bill, and decide the same; and where the district in amend and correct such tax list or rate bill, in which the subject matter of such appeal shall conformity to law; and whenever more than have arisen, shall be a joint district, embracing one renewal of a warrant for the collection of portions of two counties or towns, such appeal any tax list or rate bill, may become necessary shall be brought to the county superintendent of in any district, the trustees may make such fur. the county or section in which the school house ther renewal, with the written approbation of of such district shall be located. The decision the town superintendent of the town in which of such county superintendent shall be final and the school house of said district shall be locaconclusive, unless appealed from to the super. ted, to be endorsed upon such warrant. intendent of common schools within fifteen days $14. The annual reports required by law of after the service of a copy of such decision up- trustees of school districts, shall be made and on the parties respectively. And an appeal transmitted to the town superintendents, be. from the decision of the county superintendent tween the first and fifteenth days of January in to the superintendent of common schools may each year, who shall file the same in the office be made in fifteen days, as now provided by law of the town clerk. in relation to appeals from districts, in such 15. In making the apportionment of public manner and under such regulations as shall be money, it shall be the duty of the town superin. prescribed by the superintendent of common tendent to designate the respective proportions schools.
of teachers' and library money belonging to each § 8. Certificates of qualification hereafter district, and to pay over so much as is designa. granted to applicants by county superintendents, ted teacher's money, on the written order of a shall either be general, in the form heretoforé majority of the trustees of each district, to the prescribed under the authority of law, in which teachers entitled to receive the same. No por. case they shall be valid throughout the district tion of the teacher's fund shall hereafter be ap. of the county superintendent granting the certi. portioned or paid to any district or part of a ficate until annulled; or special, in which case district, unless it shall appear from the last an- • the town in which such applicant shall be au. nual report of the trustees, that a school had thorized to teach shall be specified ; and such been kept for the length of time now required certificate shall be in force for a term not ex. by law by a duly qualified teacher, and that no ceeding one year.
other than a duly qualified teacher had at any $ 9. The consent of the town superintendent time during the year for more than one month shall not be requisite to the annulling of any been employed to teach the school in said dis. certificate of qualification granted by any countrict; and no portion of the library money shall ty superintendent.
be apportioned or paid to any district or part of § 10. The superintendent of common schools, a district, unless it shall appear from the last on the recommendation of any county superin. annual report of the trustees, that the library tendent, or on such other evidence as may be money received at the last preceding apportionsatisfactory to him, may grant certificates of ment was duly expended according to law, on or qualification under his hand and seal of office, before the first day of October subsequent to which shall be evidence that the holder of such sứch apportionment. certificate is well qualified in respect to moral § 16. The moneys directed to be distributed character, learning and ability, to teach any dis. to the several school districts of this state, by trict school within this state ; which certificate the fourth section of chapter two hundred and shall be valid until duly revoked by the superin. thirty-seven of the laws of eighteen hundred tendent.
and thirty-eight, shall continue to be applied to § 11. The board of supervisors of the sever. the purchase of books for a district library until al counties, may audit and allow the accounts of otherwise directed by law; but whenever the the county superintendents of their respective number of volumes in the district library of any counties, rendered under oath, for postage on district numbering over fifty children between their necessary official communications with the the ages of five and sixteen years, shall exceed inhabitants and officers of the several districts one hundred and twenty-five; or of any district within their jurisdiction.
numbering fifty children or less, between the § 12. The trustees of each of the several said ages, shall exceed one hundred volumes, school districts next hereafter to be chosen, the inhabitants of the district qualified to vote shall be divided by lot into three classes, to be therein, may, at a special meeting duly notified numbered one, two and three ; the term of office for that purpose, by a majority of votes, apof the first class shall be one year, of the se- propriate the whole, or any part of library mo. cond, two, and of the third, three ; and one ney belonging to the district for the current trustee only shall thereafter annually be elect. year, to the purchase of maps, globes, blacked, who shall hold his office for three years, boards, or other scientific apparatus, for the use and until a successor shall be duly elected or of the school. appointed. In case of a vacancy in the office of $ 17. The subscriptions authorized by section either of the trustees, during the period for thirty-two of the laws of one thousand eight which he or they shall have been respectively hundred and forty-one, may be renewed from elected, the person or persons chosen or appoint. year to year by the superintendent of common ed to fill such vacancy shall hold the office only schools, subject to the restrictions and limita. for the unexpired term so becoming vacant. tions in said section prescribed.
§ 13. Whenever the trustees of any school § 18. It shall be the duty of the supervisor
OF THE STATE OF NEW-YORK.
and justices of each of the towns in this state, sistent with, the provisions of this act, are on the first day of June next, by writing under hereby repealed; but nothing in this act con. their hands to be filed in the office of the town tained shall be so construed as to impair or af. clerk, to designate one of the electors of each fect any of the local provisions respecting the town as town superintendent of common schools organization and management of schools in any under this act; and the person so designated of the incorporated cities or villages or towns shall perform all the duties, and be subject to i of this state. all the liabilities imposed or conferred by this $ 20. The officers heretofore chosen or ap. act on town superintendents, and shall hold pointed under the thirty-sixth section of chap. his office until the next annual town meeting. ter two hundred and sixty of the laws of eigh
$ 19, Sections five of chapter three hund. | teen hundred and forty-one, shall hereafter be red and thirty of the laws of eighteen hundred known and designated by the name of “County and thirty-nine, and twelve, of chapter two Superintendents of Common Schools.” hundred and sixty of the laws of eighteen § 21. This act shall not take effect until the hundred and forty-one, and all other such pro. 'first day of June next. visions of law as are repugnant to, or incon. I
EXPOSITION, & c. The late act of the Legislature, amendatory of section of our entire territory, their elevation the several statutes relating to Common Schools, and expansion to meet the constantly increasing having in many important respects changed and requirements of science and mental progress, modified the existing system, the Superintend. and their capability of laying broad and deep the ent has deemed it incumbent upon him, although foundations of character and usefulness, must not specially required so to do, to give a brief depend upon the intelligent and fostering cul. exposition of the law as it now stands, and to ture which they shall receive at the hands of point out the principal duties of the several offi. | those to whose immediate charge they are com. cers charged with its administration. He avails mitted. There is no institution within the range himself of the occasion to congratulate the peo. of civilization, upon which so much, for good or ple of the State generally, and especially those for evil, depends-upon which hang so many more directly interested in primary education, and such important issues to the future well be. upon the unanimity with which the Legislature ing of individuals and communities, as the com. have given their sanction and that of their con. mon District School. It is through that alembic stituents, to the improved system of public in that the lessons of the nursery and the family struction, which, after patient and mature deli. fire-side, the earliest instructions in pure mo. beration, they have seen fit to adopt. In this rality, and the precepts and examples of the so. country, no systems however perfect, no enact.cial circle are distilled; and from it, those les. ments however enlightened, and no authority sons are destined to assume that tinge and hue however constituted, can attain to the full ac. which are permanently to be incorporated into complishment of their object, however praise the character and the life. Is it too much then Worthy and laudable, without the hearty and to ask or to expect of parents, that laying aside efficient co-operation of public sentiment. Aida'l minor considerations, abandoning all contro. ed by this co-operation, the most important re. versies and dissensions among themselves in results may be anticipated from the most simple ference to local, partizan and purely selfish oborganization. The repeated and solemn recog.jects, or postponing them at least, until the inte. nition by the representatives of the people, of rests of their children are placed beyond the inthe interests of popular education and public influence of these irritating topics, they will con. struction, the nearly unan'mous adoption of a secrate their undivided energies to the advance. system, commended to the public favor as well ment and improvement of these beneficent insti. by practical experience, as by the concurring tutions ? testimony of the most enlightened minds of our The sum of $275,000 is annually appropriated own and other countries; and the simplification from the Common School Fund, and paid over of much of the complicated machinery which on the first day of February in each year to the served only to encumber and impede the opera. Treasurers of the several counties, in proportion tion of that system; these indications afford the to the population of each as ascertained at the most conclusive evidence not only of the impor. last preceding census. The apportionment of tance which the great mass of our fellow.citizens this fund among the several counties, towns and attach to the promotion of sound intellectual and wards of the State, is made by the Superintend. moral instruction, but of their determination to ent in the year next succeeding each enu. place our COMMON Schools, where this instruc. meration of inhabi'ants, State or national, and tion is chiefly dispensed to the children of the whenever any increase or diminution of the Stale, upon a footing which shall enable them fund takes place. A sum equal to that so appormost effectually to accomplish the great objects tioned to each town and county, is required by of their institution.
law, annually to be raised by the Board of Su. It is upon the extent and permanency of this pervisors of such county, on the taxable profeeling, that the Department relies; and this perty of the inhabitants of the respective towns spirit to which it appeals, in looking forward to and wards; and whenever the inhabitants of any the just appreciation and judicious improvement town shall at their annual town meeting, by of those means of moral and mental enlighten. vote direct an additional amount, not exceeding ment which the beneficent policy of the State has the amount apportioned to such town by the placed at the disposal of the inhabitants of the State Superintendent, to be raised, such additionseveral districts. The renovation of our Com. al amount is to be assessed on the town by the mon Schools, distributed as they are, over every Supervisors. In addition to these funds, many
towns possess a local fund, principally arising The teachers' money is to be paid over " on the from the avails of Gospel and School lot, written order of a majority of the Trustees of originally reserved in the sale of the State lands. each district, to the teachers entitled to receive Fisty-five thousand dollars of the State appro. the same." It will therefore be incumbent on priation, and a corresponding amount raised up the Town Superintendent to satisfy himself, on the several counties by tax, (or one-fifth of both of the genuineness of the order, and that the aggregate, exclusive of the additional amount the person presenting it has the certificate of the raised by vote of the inhabitants at town meet. Trustees that he is or was å teacher of the dis. ings, and local funds) are exclusively appropriatrict, and duly qualified according to law. In ted by law, in the first instance, and permanently order to entitle a district to its share of teachers' with the exception hereafter to be noted, to the money, it must appear from its annual report, purchase of suitable books for a District Libra. " that a school had been kept therein for at ry. The residue is exclusively appropriated to least four months during the year, ending at the the payment of the wages of duly qualified date of such report by a qualified teacher," afteachers. The share apportioned to and raised ter obtaining a certificate of competency from upon each town, is required to be paid over im. the proper authority; that all the teachers' momediately upon its receipt, to the Town SUPER. ney received during the year has been expended INTENDENT. This officer is to be appointed for in the payment of such teacher; " that no other the present year, on the first day of June next, than a duly qualified teacher had at any time due by the Supervisor and Justices of the Peace of ring the year for more than one month been emthe respective towns, and thereafter to be annu. ployed to teach the school in said district;" and ally elected at town meetings; and is required such report must, in all other respects, be in acwithin ten days after such election or appoint. cordance with law, and the requisitions and inment, to execute to the Supervisor and file with structions of the Superintendent, made in pursu. the Town Clerk of his town, a bond with one ance of law. In other words, it must be in the or more sufficient sureties, to be approved of by form prescribed by the Superintendent, and must said Supervisor by his endorsement thereon, in contain all the information required by law and the penalty of double the amount of the school by the Department to be given. With the am. money received in his town from all sources, | ple opportunities afforded for correction and for during the preceding year, conditioned for the the interposition of the Department when requi. faithful application and legal disbursement of all site, prior to the apportionment, it will hereaf. the school money coming into his hand. A form ter be expected that the apportionment of teachfor this bond is hereto appended.
ers' money will be made with reference exclu. 1. The first duty of the Town Superintendent sively to the reports and orders of the Depart. relates to the apportionment of school money ment, then before the Town Superintendent; among the several districts and parts of districts, and no application subsequently made for the the reports from which shall have been duly interposition of the Department will be regardmade in accordance with law. This apporsione!, unless the most satisfactory explanation of ment is by law required to be made on the first the delay is given. Tuesday of April, or in case of the receipt of the The Library money is to be paid over to, or on school money, and "all the reports from the se. the order of, a majority of the Trustees, on its ap. veral school districts" before that time, within pearing from the annual report that “the libra. ten days thereafter. The annual reports of ry money received at the last preceding appor. Trustees are now required to be made and trans- tionment was duly expended according to law, mitted to the Town Superintendent, between the (in the purchase of books suitable for a District first and fifteenth of January in each year; and Library, or in the purchase of maps, globes, the public money from all sources is payable im- black boards or other scientific apparatus for the mediately after its receipt on the first of Febru. use of the schools, in the cases and in the mode ary. The probability therefore is, that hereaf. prescribed by the late law, and which will be ter the annual apportionment of school moneys, hereafter considered) on or before the first day will take place as early as the first of March in of October subsequent to such apportionment." each year. If the reports of the respective The report must uniformly be accompanied with Trustees are made within the time prescribed a catalogue of the Library; and must state acby law, ample opportunity will be afforded to curately the number of volumes and their con. the Town Superintendent to point out all errors dition; and when the money has been expended and deficiencies in them, and to enable the Trus. in the purchase of apparatus, &c. the authority tees either to make the necessary corrections or under which such expenditure has been made, to apply to the Department for relief, before the and a full and particular inventory of the arti. apportionment is finally made. In making the cles purchased, must be specifically reported. apportionment, the Town Superintendent is first 2. The next duty of the Town Superintendto assign to each district, from which the neces.ent in the order of time, is the examination and sary report has been received, or which is enti. licensing of teachers, and the visitation and in. tled to share in the apportionment, its propor. spection of the schools. This is a most impor. tion of the public money received from all sour. ant and responsible task; and upon its proper ces, according to the number of children be. fulfilment, depends in a very essential degree, tween the ages of five and sixteen, designating the elevation and improvement of the District the respective proportions of teachers and library Schools. If none but properly qualified teach. money belonging to each district. This designa. ers are permitted to find their way to our tion will be most readily made by deducting schools; if the certificate of the examining offi. from the aggregate sum to be distributed one. cer, and the sanction of his authority, are given fifth of double the amount apportioned by the only to those who are intellectually and morally State, and received from the County Treasurer, fitted adequately to discharge the high duties of and making the apportionment accordingly. I instructors of youth, "apt to teach, competent
to communicate instruction in the mode best Trustees of any district to be affected by such adapted to develope the various faculties of the formation or alteration, shall desire, the Super. expanding mind, patterns alike of moral and so visor and Town Clerk may be associated with cial excellence; ihese elementary institutions him in the discharge of this duty; and in joint will speedily become the fitting temples of sci. districts, joint boards must of course be formed ence, the nurseries of virtue, and the pride and in either event. The general principles which boast of the State. Hitherto this duty has been should govern in the formation and alteration of deplorably neglected; and the disastrous conse. school districts, have repeatedly been laid down quences are every where visible in the degrada. by the present Superintendent and his predeces. tion of the District School, the substitution of sors, and will be found in the volume of Com. private and select schools of every grade, the mon School Decisions, the instructions to Com. low estimation in which the profession of the missioners in the “Laws, &c. relating to Com. teacher is held, and the miserable pittance—too mon Schools," distributed in 1841, and the Dis. often most costly in its utmost scantiness—which trict School Journal from its commencement to is relunctantly doled out to the needy and destitutc the present period, all of which will be trans. adventurer. A thorough reform in this respect, mitted upon application to the respective Town is imperatively demanded as well by public sen Superintendents, where they cannot be obtained timent, as by a just regard to the paramountin. from the Commissioners, to whom they have terests of education; and no considerations of been already forwarded, or from the County temporary convenience to a particular district, Superintendent. The great aim should be to of favor to individuals, or of regard to the pre. form, as far as may be practicable, permanent judices or preferences of inhabitants or trustees, and efficient districts, competent both in respect will, it is hoped, hereafter be permitted in any to taxable property and number of children, to case to sway the action of the certifying officer, sustain good schools, for from eight to ten or incline him, either to the right or the left, months of each year, and affording all requisite from the plain path of duty and obligation. A facilities for the regular attendance of all the certificate, should in no case, and under no cir. children entitled to participate in the benefits of cumstances, be granted unless the candidate is the school. Whenever alterations may become found upon a careful examination, well qualifi. necessary or expedient, the utmost care should ed to instruct in all the ordinary branches usual. be taken to secure the general co-operation of ly taught in Common Schools-thoroughly ver. the inhabitants interested, and to avoid all those sed in the principles of elementary science-ca. sources of contention and discord which are so pable of readily applying them to any given fatal to the prosperity, harmony and efficiency case, and able to communicate with facility, the of the district. It is better to submit to many results of his knowledge; and unless in addition temporary and local inconveniences, than to ha. to this, his character and demeanor are irre. zard the disastrous results which almost uni. proachable, his babits exemplary, and his moral formly follow any general dissatisfaction with principles undoubted. In order as well to be as. contemplated alterations, even though such al. sured that the impressions resulting from the ex. terations may upon the whole be judicious and amination were well founded, as to make himself advantageous. " The good sense of a district acquainted with the condition and prospects of may be relied upon, to perceive ultimately its
schools, the Town Superintendent should fre. true interest, and the loss of time in attaining quently and periodically visit and inspect the the desired, end is unimportant when compared schools; and whenever practicable, should be ac. with the consequences of defeating the wishes coin panied by the County Superintendent, by of a decided majority," or even of a respectable the Trustees of the districts and such of the inha. minority “of a district." The mode of pro. bitants as may be prevailed upon to attend. It ceeding, and the forins of the necessary orders would be attended with the happiest effects up. in the formation and alteration of districts, the on the prosperity and advancement of the schools appraisal of district property, &c. will be found if the Town Superintendent would annually in the “ Laws relating to Common Schools," make to the County Superintendent, a detailed and the instructions of the Superintendent under report of the character and condition of the se. the head of “ Commissioners;" and may easily veral schools within his town, and of the influ. be varied to meet the exigency of each case, un ences, prosperous or adverse, by which their ad. der the existing law. ministration during the current year had been 4. The Town Superintendents are also to distinguished.
prosecute for and collect the various penalties The certificates of qualification granted by imposed by law, for violation or neglect of duty Town Superintendents are to remain in force for on the part of the several officers of school dis. one year only; are available only within the tricts, where no other provision is made there. town for which they were granted; may be an. for. Their duties under this head, will be found nulled at any time by the officer granting them, summed up at page 116 of the volume last referor his successor, giving ten days notice in wri. red to. ting, of intention to annul the same to the teach. 5. Whenever any second or subsequent renew. er and trustees, or hy the County Superintend. al of a School District warrant may for any rea. ent, with the consent of the Town Superintend. son become necessary or advisable, the consent ent, without such notice, and is to be in the of the Town Superintendent to such renewal, to form heretofore prescribed by the Department, be endorsed on such warrant, is required by the substituting the words " Town Superintendent" late law. This enactment restores. the law as for “ Inspectors."
it formerly stood in relation to the power of 3. Another function of considerable impor. Trustees of districts to renew a warrant once; lance, devolved upon Town Superintendents by and inasmuch as the prompt collection of taxes the existing law, is the formation and alteration and rate bills is in many important respects de. of school districts. Whenever, however, the sirable; and as such collection may always be