Page images

You are hereby commanded to collect from each of the taxable inhabitants and corporations named in the foregoing list, and of the owners of the real estate described therein, the several sums: mentioned in the last column of the said list, opposite to the persons and corporations so named, and to the several tracts of land so described, together with five cents on each dollar thereof for your fees, unless such amount is paid within two weeks from the receipt of this warrant, in which case you are to retain one per cent. only as your fees; and in case any person, upon whom such tax is imposed, shall neglect or refuse to pay the same, you are to levy the Same by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of the person or corporation so taxed, in the same manner as on warrants issued by the board of supervisors to the collectors of towns; and you are to make a return of this warrant within thirty days after the delivering thereof to you ; and within that time to pay over all moneys collected by virtue hereof, to the trustees of the said district, some or one of them ; and if any tax on the real estate of a non-resident mentioned in the said list shall be unpaid at the time when you are required to return this warrant, you are to deliver to the trustees of the said district an account thereof, according to law.

Given under our hands this day of in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty . - - A. B. C. D. Y. Trustees. By $ 110 of the act of 1847, (No. 130,) it is not necessary for the trustees to affix their seals to any warrant.

8. WARRANTs For THE COLLECTION OF, TAX LISTS AND RATE BILLS. . By various provisions of the school act (No. 131, 132,) it is provided that the warrant annexed to any tax list for the collection of a district tax or any rate bill for the payment of teachers' wages, shall command the collector, in case any person named in such list shall not pay the sum therein set opposite to his name on demand, to levy the same of his goods and chattels in the same manner as on warrants issued by the board of supervisors to the collectors of towns, except as hereinafter specified in relation to rate bills. . The time specified in any warrant, for its collection and return begins to run from the delivery of such warrant to the collector, and not from its date.—Com. School Dec. 286. Where a warrant is signed by two trustees only, the presence or concurrence of the third will be presumed.—Id. 258. Trustees in office only, can sign warrants.—Id. 275. By $ 112, 132, “If the sum or sums of money, payable by any person named in any tax list or rate bill, shall not be paid by him or collected by such warrant within the time therein 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. * * * Such renewal should be made at the earliest practicable period after the expiration of the time specified for the collection in the original warrant. It is not, however, necessary that it should be made prior to the expiration of such original warrant. Any second or subsequent renewal of such warrant must be with the written approbation of the Town Superintendent endorsed thereon. - . - Trustess may legally renew the warrants of their precessors 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. - . By $100, as amended by the act of 1849 (chap. 382,) it is made the duty of the trustees, after the expiration of the thirty days allowed by law to deliver the tax list and warrant to the collector of the district, “and such collector is hereby authorized and directed, upon receiving his warrant, for two successive weeks, to receive suchitaxes as may be voluntarily paid to him ; and in case the whole amount shall not be so paid in, the collector shall proceed forthwith to collect the same. He shall receive for his services, on all sums paid in as aforesaid, one per cent, and upon all sums collected by him after the expiration of the time mentioned, five per cent; and in case a revy and sale shall be necessarily made by such collector, he shall be entitled to travelling fees at the rate of six cents per mile, to be computed from the school house in such district.” -



By sub. 5, of $ 82 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. 44, 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 repair, &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 § 82, 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 trustess 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 majority 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. j Trustees cannot, however, allow any part of the district school house to be occupied for any other purpose 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 $120 of the act of 1847, (No. 140,) “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.


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 $74, of the of act 1847, (No. 96,) 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 mortgage 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 § 75 to apply the moneys arising from such sale to the expenses incurred in procuring a new site, and in removing or erecting a school-house, so far as such application shall be necessary.



By sub. 7 of $82, 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 loosness and irregularity with which these contracts have been made. In some districts the trustees are 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 ratebill. 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 up in ignorance, or instructed in error, rather than contribute the mere trifle which will secure them an education, sound and accurate, at least 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 2 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 district department. A large amount of public money indicates a large number of children, 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 rate-bills 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 respect.—Per SPENCER, Supt. on appeal. A practice prevails to a very considerable extent among the several school districts, of trustees’ engaging with a teacher 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 himself. 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

« PreviousContinue »