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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 "ppeal to the State 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 apportionment of public money has not been made
In such cases a general authority is given to the State Superintendent, by $ 14 of the act of 1847, (No. 39.) to cause the apportionment to be made, on the equitable circumstances of the case, and a similar authority is given in relation to library money by the last clause of $ 6 of the act of 1839, § 142. (No. 161.
These provisions are intended only for cases of accidental and unintentional omissions, and the authority given by them will not be exercised where there is a wilful 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
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 owning such fund. Anu the trustees should be careful not to apply any part of the money in their hands, coming from the common school fund belonging to a town, to the purchase of a library, or to any other purpose than the support of common schools.
DIVISIONS OF TEACHERS' MONEY INTO PORTIONS. By subdivision 9 of 82, (No. 103,) trustees are authorized 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. Con. School Dec. 55.
Where any portion of the teachers' money is applies 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.
Trustees are required by $ 104 of the act of 1847, (No. 127,) 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 l'eceived 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 rite bills, specifying particularly the source whence derived and the time when received; and on the opposite page credit themselves with the respective expenditures and payments, specifying particularly to whorn, when paid, and for what purpose, and referring to the proper vouchers, on file, whenever practicable.
On another page they should make an accurate inventory of all the moveable property belonging to the district, such as the library of the district, stating the number of volumes and their condition, and giving a catalogue of the books, wherever a general reference cannot properly be made, as to the 1st, 2d, 3d, &c., series of the Harper Library, or Nos. 1, 2, 3, &c., of the Harper Library or
Family Library, &c. &c., and the furniture, appendages, and ape paratus of the school-room, specifying each article. The whole to be followed by a certificate in the following form :
We, the subscribers, Trustees of District No. in the town Trenton, do hereby certify that the preceding, from page page
inclusive, contains a true and accurate account of all the moneys received by us for the use of said district. and of the expenditures thereof; and a correct statement and inventory of all the moveable property belonging to said district. Dated this
The library money is to be paid over to, or on the order of, a majority of the trustees, on its appearing from the arinual report that " the library money received at the last preceding apportionment was duly expended according to law, (in the purchase of books suitable for a district library, or in the purchase of maps, globes, black-boards or other scientific apparatus for the use of the schools, in the cases and in the mode prescribed by the late law, and which will be hereafter considered,&c.,) on or before the first day of October subsequent to such apportionment." The report must uniformly be accompanied with a catalogue of the books and apparatus, &c., purchased since the last preceding catalogue was furnished, and must state accurately the number of volumes, and their condition ; and when the money has been expended in the purchase of apparatus, &c., the authority under which such expenditure has been made, and a full and particular inventory of the articles purchased, must be specifically reported.
THE CALLING OF ANNUAL AND SPECIAL MEETINGS.
Trustees have power to call special meetings of the inhabitants of their district liable to pay taxes, whenever they shall deem it necessary and proper. This power should be liberally exercised for the benefit of the district ; and special meetings should be called by the trustees, whenever requested for a proper and legitimate purpose, by a respectable number of inhabitants. The trustees should act as a board, whenever such meetings are directed to be called ; and they, or a majoriiy of them, when all have been notified, may require the clerk of the district, either verbally or in writing, to give the necessary notices to the inhabitants. The object of the meeting should, in all cases, be specified in the notice. Where there is no clerk of the district, or he is absent or incapable of acting, any one of the trustees, designated by the board, may give the notices.
Where the time for holding the annual meeting has for any reason passed, without the election of officers, and neither the clerk nor acting trustees give the necessary notices for a special meeting, authorized by $ 68 (No. 90,) within twenty days thereafter, any inhabitant of the district, qualified to vote, is authorized by $ 66, (No. 88,) to 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 hold their office until the next annual meeting
III. ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF DISTRICT TAXES.
This duty is one of the most difficult and perplexing devolved upon trustees; requiring for its proper and legal exercise a strict conformity to the statutes in form as well as substance. A careful examination and collation of their various provisions in this respect becomes indispensable. Any departure from the specific directions thus given is almost sure to subject the trustees to serious personal liability, for which no indemnity is provided, as well as to cause embarrassment and confusion in the affairs of the district generally.
In order to enable them to execute this portion of their duties with accuracy and ease, the several steps of the process will be distinctly and particularly pointed out; and such directions given as will, it is hoped, prevent all liability to error in its future performance.
I. GENERAL PROVISION.
The general duty of trustees under this head, is comprised in the 3d and 4th subdivisions of 82, (No. 103,) and is as follows: 66 To make out a tax list of every district tax voted by any such meeting, (special, annual or adjourned,) containing the names of all the taxable inhabitants residing in the district at the time of making out the list, and the amount of tax payable by each inhabitant set opposite to his name and to annex to such tax list a warrant directed to the collector of the district, for the collection of the sums in such list mentioned.
2. TAX LIST. WHEN TO BE MADE OUT.
By $ 99, (No. 122,) "Every district tax shall be assessed, and the tax list thereof be made out by the trustees, and a proper warrant attached thereto, within one month after the district meeting in which the tax shall have been voted.
The reason of this provision is obvious. The inhabitants and property of school districts are constantly changing, and where a tax is voted for a specific purpose, it should be assessed only upon those for whose benefit it was voted. While the statute should, therefore, be strictly complied with whenever it can be, yet if a lit
eral compliance is prevented by accident or unavoidable circunstances, the list may be made out after the expiration of the month or thirty days; as ihe statute is supposed to be directory, and similar to that in the case of the Prople vs. Allen, 6 Wendell, 486. The regulations of the Superintendent, ou appeals, liave allowed thirty days, within which any person aggrieved, in consequence of the proceedings of any district meeting, may appeal; and, as will hereafter be sien, twenty days' notice is required to be given by the trustees, in case a reduction is claimed, or an original assessment becomes necessary.
In the first case, if a copy of the appeal be served prior to the expiration of the month, and before the trustees have made their assessment, the time during which such appeal is pending is not to be computed as part of the month within which the tax list is to be made out, as the service operates as a stay of all proceedings in any way relating to or consequent upon the act complained of. Still the assessinent, when made out, must hare reference to the property of the district, as it existed at the expiration of the month. In the second case, the trustees should make out their tax list within the month, although they may not be able finally to complete it. They should, however, within the first ten days after the meeting at which the tax is voed, make out their assessment; so that if a reduction is claimed, or an original valuation is found to be necessary, they can give the twenty days' notice required by law, and complete their list by the expiration of the month.
Errors in tax lists and rate-bills have often been discovered after they were made out. If discovered within a month from the time the tax was voted, and nothing has been collected, the trustees may recall them, correct the error, and redeliver them to the collector. But after the expiration of the month, and after any tar bad been, in whole or in part collected, they did not, previously to the act of 1839, (modified by the act oi 1843,) possess the power of correction. In consequence they were exposed to prosecutions for slight and accidental errors which might have been easily corrected by parties who did not choose to take the more convenient and summary more of appealing to the Superintendent. This is now effectually remedied by $ 13 of the act referred to, (No. 133,) by which trustees may, with the approbation and consent of the state superintendent, correct and amend errors in making out any tax list or rate-bill which may be discovered prior to the expenditure of the amount therein directed to be raised, and may refund to any person any sum improperly collected in consequence of such error. By availing themselves of this provision, trustees may now protect themselves from vexatious suits. They need not wait for an appeal by any party aggrieved, but as soon as they become aware of the existence of any error, they should proceed at once to correct it, and to refund any amount improperly collected in consequence of such error.