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DIGEST OF SCHOOL LAWS.
(The following digest was prepared, for the most part, under the direction of the various State superintendents In a few instances the work was done in the Bureau. Flor ida, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are not represented in the present revision, as it was found impossible to obtain a digest of their laws in time for publication herewith.)
1. ORGANIZATION OF THE SYSTEM.
State superintendent--County superintendents—School districts—Township
trustees. State superintendent.— The superintendent of education is elected for two years at a salary of $2,250 a year. Vacancies filled by appointment of the goyernor. He must furnish $15,000 bond; must have an office at the capitol, the books, papers, and records of which are open to persons interested ; has four clerical assistants; shall devote his time to the care and improvement of the common schools and the promotion of public education, and exercise a general supervision over all educational interests of the State; has power to require from county superintendents, township trustees, and other school officers such reports as he may deem important, and may remove them from office for failure to make such report or to discharge any other official duty. Other duties are: To visit every county in the State annually, if practicable; to inspect schools and diffuse information as to best methods; make provision for instruction of all pupils in the constitutions of the United States and Alabama, and in hygiene and physiology, with special reference to the effects of alcoholic drinks and narcotics; apportion annually the public school fund to townships and school districts according to the number of children of school age, and see to the proper disbursement of same; print and distribute forms and blanks, his annual report to the governor, laws, and rules and regulations pertaining to the State school system, including therein the constitutions of the United States and Alabama; prescribe a uniform system of keeping accounts and records, and furnish county superintendents and other school officers necessary books for same; keep an account of sixteenth-section and other school funds, with each township or district; require and supervise the collection of poll taxes; elicit and disseminate useful information regarding the school systems of other States and countries ; hold or arrange for one or more teachers' institutes in each Congressional district for a week or more during each summer, for which he may expend not exceeding $500 in any year in employing instructors. On or before October 10, biennially, he shall submit a report to the governor embracing the following: A brief history of his labors; abstract of reports from county superintendents showing condition of the schools ; estimates and accounts of expenditures of school money : itemizeil statements showing disbursement of contingent and all other special funds or appropriations under his control; other matters that he may deem expedient, with such recommendations as he may desire to make for the improvement of the schools. Should the trustees of any township fail to make their semiannual enumeration of children from 7 to 21 years (see Township trustees), or should the State superintendent have reason to believe such enumeration is
fraudulent or greatly erroneous, he may have a new enumeration made at the expense of such township.
County superintendents.-A county superintendent for each county is eiected at each general election for a term of two years, beginning October 1 next after his election. Gives bond in amount fixed by State superintendent—not less than double the probable amount of money to be in his hands at any one time. Receives as compensation 4 per cent of all educational funds legally disbursed by him and approved by tle State superintendent. Vacancies are filled by appointment of State superintendent, who may remove any county superintendent for cause, whether appointed or elected. He is president of the county board of education and of the teachers' institute (which see). Other duties are: To have an office at the county seat, where he must be present on the first Saturday of each month during the scholastic year to transact business with school officers and teachers; receive and faithfully keep all funds accruing by taxation or gift for use of public schools in his county ; notify township trustees of the amount of the educational fund apportioned to their respective townships or districts as soon as he receives such apportionment; examine the condition of all county school funds, including sixteenth-section fund and sixteenth-section lands unsold in his county, bringing suits when necessary for recovery of such lands or against trespassers thereon; pay te:chers' salaries (upon certificate of trusteees) quarterly or monthly in counties and districts so provided by special act; appoint 3 trustees for each township or school district and remove them from office when the interest of public education so demands; report by September 30 each year to State superintendent (perblanks furnished) a detailed statement of bis official acts and accounts, under penalty of forfeiting his commissions for willfully failing to submit such report within ten days. His books, accounts, and vouchers are subject to examination at any time by the State superintendent or his agent.
School districts.-(See Schools.)
Township trustees.—Three trustees for each township or school district, who shall be freeholders and householders resident therein, shall be appointed by the county superintendent, to serve two years beginning October 1 each odd year. They have immediate supervision of the public schools in their township or district and are exempt from poll tax, jury and road duty. Their duties are: To visit each school at least once a year; to employ teachers, whom they may remove for cause; to inspect school registers kept by teachers; in July of each odd year the district trustees shall make an enumeration of children in their district, each sex, white and black, from 7 to 21 years, and report same to county superintendent by August 1 following; annually, on the last Monday in October, or within seven days thereafter, to call a meeting of parents and guardians of such aged children, advising with whom they shall determine: The number of schools to be established in their township for the current year; location of each school, time of opening and length of session, which shall not be less than five months (except in rare cases four months by approval of county and State superintendents); amount of money apportioned to each school; children to be transferred to other districts, and amount to be set apart for payment of their tuition, with such other business as may be necessary. Within ten days after suich meeting they shall report to the county superintendent the number and location of schools, amount of money apportioned to each, and the names of teachers employed.
Duties–Certificates—Contracts—Institutes. Duties.-Every teacher must keep a register of pupils' daily attendance, and submit same to trustees for inspection ; forward quarterly to county superintendent detailed report of all matters pertaining to the school, sworn to before and approved by trustees, prior to which report teacher can not draw pay; give instruction, in every grade and as regularly as any other subject, in the nature and effects of alcoholic drinks and narcotics.
Certificates.-Every one must obtain a certificate prior to employment as a teacher. State board of examiners, composed of State superintendent (as president) and two teachers of extensive experience and recognized ability appointed by him, have supervision of all examinations of candidates for teachers' certificates in the State. Said board shall meet in November and Mixy each year and prepare questions, lists of which shall be printed by State superintendent and
sent (by the 15th of December and June) to the several county superintendents, who shall not unseal the same except in the presence of the applicants at the hour and day of examination--namely, 10 a. m. on first Mondays in January and July, and for three consecutive days, if necessary. State board may hold special examinations at the department of education, Montgomery, for persons prevented by unavoidable cause from taking the regular examinations; and normal school students may be examined at times and places designated by the board. No candidate shall be examined who is not known to be of good moral character, and anyone who habitually uses profane language or intoxicants shall be deemed of immoral character. Applicants for third-grade certificates shall be examined in orthography, reading, penmanship, grammar, practical arithmetic through fractions, primary geography, and the elementary principles of physiology and hygiene; second grade, practical arithmetic complete, history of Alabama and United States, English grammar and composition, and intermediate geography, additional; first grade, algebra, natural philosophy, geometry, school laws of Alabama, and theory and practice of teaching, still additional. No certificate shall be issued to any candidate who falls below 50 per cent in any branch, and whose general average is less than 75. The State board examine and grade the papers and issue certificates, which are valid for periods as follows: Third grade, two years ; second grade, four ; first grade, six. No teacher shall be granted a third or second grade certificate more than twice. Anyone having taught ten years under first-grade certificates and showing a high degree of proficiency and professional attainment may be granted a life certificate, which, however, shall be forfeited if the business of teaching is left off for five consecutive years. Fees for regular and normal school examinations are: For thirdgrade certificates, $1; second grade, $1.50 ; first grade, $2; life, $3 ; special examinations, any grade, $5. The two State examiners appointed receive $5 per day while employed; county examiners, $10 per examination conducted by them. The State superintendent shall revoke the certificate of any teacher found guilty of immoral, indecent, or unbecoming conduct. A register of licensed teachers is kept in his office.
Contracts.--Are made with trustees, in writing, in duplicate; must specify monthly salary; one copy must be filed with county superintendent for his approval within ten days, without which it shall not be valid. Trustees shall not contract for a school of more than 50 pupils to one teacher, nor less than 10 if there are more than that number of each race in the district.
Institutes.--The county superintendent shall appoint two teachers in either public or private schools of the county who, with himself as president, shall constitute the county board of education. They shall meet at least quarterly, and shall organize and maintain teachers' institutes, one for white and one for colored teachers, if there be not less than 10 licensed teachers of that race in the county. Every licensed teacher in the county shall be a menuber of the institute organized for his race, but no fee shall be imposed on a member without his consent. Institutes shall hold not less than three annual meetings, and every licensed teacher shall attend at least one of them. One such meeting shall be in September, at which an address to the teachers shall be made by a person selected by the board. Institutes shall be devoted mainly to instruction and discussion in regard to methods of teaching and discipline, text-books, and other school matters,
School districts--Attendance-Studies—Location of buildings-Scholastic
School districts.—Every township, or fraction thereof, divided by a State or county line or any river, creek, mountain, or other barrier rendering intercourse between the different portions of the township difficult, and every incorporated town or city having 3,000 inhabitants or more shall constitute a separate school district, whose corporate representatives are the township trustees (which see, under Organization). In every district one or more schools for each race separately shall be established, unless the number of children within a reasonable distance be insufficient; in which latter event the trustees shall arrange for the tuition of such children in such manner as they deem proper, paying for same out of the school funds apportioned to such district, and if a transfer to another district can not be conveniently effected the parents or guardians of children that shall have attended some school in the State during a time equal to the
scholastic period of the current year shall be paid by the county superintendent amounts equal to the pro rata of such children in said apportionment of funds.
Attendance.—Every minor above 7 years shall be entitled to attend and receive instruction in some public school of his race in the State. Children that have attended the number of days they are entitled to at one school shall not attend another during the same scholastic year unless by consent of the trustees of the latter. Parents or guardians residing in the State, but nonresident in a district wherein they pay school tax on $500 worth of real estate, shall be entitled to school privileges for their children in such district. Teachers must keep a register of pupils' daily attendance. Fifty pupils is the maximum number allowed one teacher.
Studies.-(See Teachers; Certificates; Duties.)
Location of buildings.—When but one school is established in a township it shall be so located as to accommodate the largest number of pupils and to encourage the building of a permanent schoolhouse as near the center of the township as possible; such location may be changed by trustees from year to year in order to provide for those who were not in reach of the school in previous years.
In locating schools trustees must have regard to population, surroundings, any schoolhouse already built or site procured, and all other circumstances necessary to be considered, so as to promote the interests of free public education. (See also Finances ; Taxation.)
Scholastic periods.-Scholastic year begins October 1, ends September 30. Twenty days constitute a school month; not less than six hours a school day. County superintendents shall not approve a teacher's contract (which see) for a less period than five months, except for an unexpired term, unless it be found absolutely impracticable to make the term five months, in which case State superintendent must also approve.
Educational fund.—On October 1 each year the State auditor shall place to the credit of the educational fund the following: Six per cent interest on all sums received from sales of lands granted by the United States for school purposes; 4 per cent interest on the surplus revenue of the United States deposited with the State under act of Congress approved June 23, 1836; rents or other income from unsold lands received from the United States or other source for the benefit of public schools; all sums that may accrue to the State as escheats, and a further annual appropriation of $550,000. State superintendent shall set apart an amount suflicient to pay expenses of the department of education lawfully paid from such fund, amounts appropriated for normal schools, and then apportion the balance of such fund among the several townships and school districts according to scholastic population, advising each county superintendent of the several amounts apportioned to schools under his supervision.
Taration.—All poll tax collected in any county shall be retained therein for the support of its schools. Also other licenses, required by law to be paid into the county school fund, shall be paid by county officials direct to the county superintendent and disbursed by him. Each township or district shall receive for the benefit of its schools all the poll tax collected therein. The amount paid hy white persons shall be applied exclusively to the maintenance of schools for white children and that paid by colored for colored. All other local school funds raised by taxation or otherwise shall be expended in the districts in and for which they were raised. None of the apportionment from the State shall be used for schoolhouses, furniture, or other contingent expenses.
1. ORGANIZATION OF THE SYSTEM. State superintendent-State commissioners of the school fund—County exam
State superintendent.-Every two years there shall be elected a State superintendent of public instruction, who shall have the general superintendence of the business of the free common schools of the State. He shall have an office
at the seat of government, where he shall keep the matter that accumulates by virtue of his office and where he shall be in attendance when not necessarily absent on business. He shall furnish suitable questions for the examination of teachers; prepare and transmit to county examiners the necessary forms and registers; prepare and have printed a course of study for the rural schools of the State, giving the branches to be taught in each grade and directions to teachers on the proper methods of teaching each subject, and supervise the school funds so far as to insure their safety. He shall make an annual report to the governor, showing the number of persons between the ages of 6 and 21 years residing in the State on the 1st day of the preceding July ; number of such persons in each county ; number of each sex; number white and colored; the whole number of such persons that attended the free common schools of the State during the year ending the 30th day of the last preceding June, and the number in each county that attended during the same period; number of whites of each sex that attended and number of colored of each sex that attended the said schools; the number of common schools in the State; number of pupils that studied each of the branches taught; average wages paid teachers of each sex; the relative average wages paid to male and female teachers, respectively, according to the different grades of the certificates; number of schoolhouses erected during the year, the material and cost thereof; the number previously erected, the material of which they were constructed, their condition and value; the number with their grounds inclosed; the counties in which teachers' institutes were held, and the number that attended the institutes in each county.
He shall likewise report the amount of permanent school fund belonging to the State at the close of the fiscal school year and the amount of other property apportioned to school purposes; the nature, kind, and amount of the investments made of the same; the safety and permanency of such investments; the amount of revenue accruing from the school funds; the income received from the per capita assessment of each county and the amount derived from such assessments in all the counties of the State; the income derived from all other sources, together with the amount derived from each ; likewise, in what sums, for what purposes, and in what manner the said school revenue shall have been expended and what moneys of various kinds are in the various county treasuries unexpended.
He shall also append to his report a statistical table, compiled from the materials transmitted to his office by school officers, with proper summaries, averages, and totals given, and shall present such comparison of results and such an exhibit of his administration and of the operation of the common free school system, together with such statements of the true condition of the schools of the State as shall distinctly show the improvements and progress made from year to year in the department of public instruction. He may print 5,000 copies of his report.
He shall apportion the common school fund on September 1, and shall from time to time issue editions of the school law, shall have access to the auditor's books and papers, and may grant State and professional certificates. A vacancy in the office shall be filled by the governor.
State commissioners of the school fund.--(See Finances; Funds.)
County examiner.—The county court of each county shall at the first term thereof after each general election appoint, in each county not divided into two judicial districts, one county examiner; and in each county divided into two judicial districts may appoint one county examiner for each district, such examiner to be of high moral character and scholastic attainments; and all county examiners shall be required before entering upon the duties of their offices to stand the same examination as is required of the teachers who receive firstgrade licenses, and no one shall fill the offices of county examiner and school director at the same time. All county examiners shall be paid such salary each year as may be fixed by the county judge.
It shall be the duty of the examiner to examine and license teachers of common schools. The county examiner shall hold at the county seat a public examination on the third Thursday and Friday of March, June, September, and December, using the questions prepared by the department of public instruction. The questions shall be mailed under seal and shall not be opened until the day of examination, and then in the presence of the applicants for license. He shall encourage the inhabitants to organize school districts, to establish public schools; direct the attention of teachers and patrons to those methods of instruction that will best promote mental and moral culture, and to the most feasible and improved plan for building and ventilating schoolhouses; labor to create