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offices of director and treasurer of the district board. Then these officers present bills for real or fancied services. Two of the officers being of the same family they pass upon the bills favorably and have them allowed, an order is drawn for the payment of the same and when presented to the moderator for his signature is signed by him rather than have any trouble about the matter; quite likely he is bribed by being allowed to do some work about the school grounds or by furnishing some wood or “supplies,” real or fancied, at an extravagant price, another illegal act.
Sixth. Often the cause for errors is the failure to understand the various funds as designated by law. To make this matter clear a bulletin has been prepared by this department and distributed among school officers. This appears herewith under head of school moneys and classifies the funds, gives their sources and the purposes for which each fund may be used.
Seventh. Another cause for errors in accounting for school funds is a misunderstanding of the powers and duties of the school officers and taxpayers. Certain taxes are voted by the district and certain others by the school board. Officers have sometimes taken advantage of their right to vote taxes by voting a much larger amount than will be needed and then diverting the surplus to some other use than that for which the money was assessed.
A district has full power as to the amount of money to be raised for permanent repairs on buildings and for constructing new buildings. It has also the power to choose its building committee, but it has not the power to instruct the district board to construct or repair a building. The district board cannot be interested in any contract, neither can an officer receive pay for working on a building for the district either in repairing or constructing the same. If a district wishes any member of the board to do any work on a building for the district, it must first secure the resignation of such officer.
It will be evident from the above that the opportunities for errors in the handling of district funds are many, and officers who are elected to the responsibilities should study carefully their powers and duties. They should also give special attention to some system of accounting that will apply to district accounting as laid down in the school laws. I append some suggestions that should be observed in the keeping of school accounts.
First. The director and treasurer should keep the same form of accounts.
Second. All moneys received by the treasurer should be charged on Dr. side of the proper fund; all orders paid credited on the Cr. side.
Third. All warrants drawn upon the township treasurer should state the exact amount, and not read “All moneys in your hands belonging to said district.” To insure this the statement of the township clerk to the director giving the moneys due the district in the township treasurer's hands should be carefully preserved by the director.
Fourth. All warrants drawn upon the township treasurer should be cashed by the district treasurer before the annual settlement with the school director.
Fifth. The stubs of orders drawn upon the district treasurer should give the items for which the order is drawn. Such stub should be filled out before the order is detached.
Sixth. Never omit placing number, date and fund upon both order and stub. The number is as important in accounting as is the date, and should not begin with number one each year but go on indefinitely.
Seventh. Never tear out a stub nor destroy an order. All spoiled orders have an explanation made upon the stub.
Eighth. When money is hired by the district the director should charge the district treasurer with the same when the notes or bonds properly signed are placed in the treasurer's hands, explaining the matter in the entry.
Ninth. The director of a fractional school district can draw warrants on the township treasurer only of the township in which the schoolhouse is situated, and such treasurer must apply to each township treasurer of any other townships in which any part of the district is situated for any money in his hands belonging to such district, according to section 4713 of the general school laws.
Lest there be a misunderstanding of this report, I wish to say in conclusion that there are not many cases in which there is the least appearance of dishonesty among school officers. A few there have been and they have answered to the law for their malfeasance, but the ordinary school officer is a philanthropist. He does a large amount of work for the good of the schools, receiving no pay therefor, but instead the abuse of those people who have little or no interest in education, and the better officer he is, usually the more of the criticisms he receives.
I wish here to thank the school officers whose accounts have been audited for their uniformly courteous treatment of my representative. Indeed the officers have seemed as desirous that the financial matters of the district be straightened out as is this department and have rendered every assistance possible. The same may be said of the township officers.
SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTING.
The financial reports of district officers have been corrected in 1342 districts, scattered through over seventy counties of the State. These corrections were as follows: 1. For incorrect report of primary money received...
653 2. For incorrect report of primary money on hand, generally because illegally used.....
261 3. Incorrect report of cash on hand.
279 4. For incorrect accounts for various other reasons among which
are-lack of items of receipts and expenditures, incorrect re-
Total corrections in the above 1342 districts...
In addition to the above there have been many cases in which primary interest money and one-mill tax money have been used illegally, also many cases of officers being paid for services which they could not legally perform for pay, such as labor on the buildings and grounds, furnishing fuel, etc.
There have been a few cases of defalcation which are at present being prosecuted by the Attorney General.
In nearly every case in which money has been illegally use ceeded in having it replaced in the district treasury. The from a few dollars in some districts to over $1400 in others There are many district accounts yet to audit, but the 1
is done. I believe that when once the accounts are correct and officers realize that their accounts are subject to audit, greater care will be exercised in safeguarding the people's money, chief among which will be ample and secure bonds of the district treasurer and a systematic method of keeping school district accounts.
AGRICULTURE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Courses of study.
At a national meeting of the presidents and instructors of agricultural schools in the United States,' held two years ago, the subject of agriculture in the public schools received a large amount of attention. With the introduction of manual training, domestic science, and commercial courses into the public schools, has come a demand also for instruction in agriculture. Agriculture is at the foundation of our national prosperity and it is probable that no business or profession has received so little attention at the hands of educators as this most important one. In several states laws have been enacted providing that agriculture shall be taught in the public schools, but as yet the reports show that little has been done to carry out the spirit of such legislation.
There is a great diversity of opinion among educators as to the field that shall be covered in agricultural instruction. No one has yet evolved a course of study that seems exactly adapted
to the needs of farmers. Special courses are given in our agricultural colleges and other colleges for the benefit of the farmers of the State. The so-called short courses given in the winter at our Agricultural College provide a small amount of special instruction along certain special lines, but the attendance at these classes is so small that the results when applied to the State at large make very little impression.
It seems clear, therefore, that if we are to spread the benefits of agricultural instruction over the state it must be done through the medium of the public schools. As stated before, no one has yet decided exactly what can or ought to be taught. All agree upon the advisability of such work. This Department, in order to furnish a foundation upon which agricultural instruction may be given has requested members of the faculty of our State Agricultural College to prepare certain material along agricultural lines which shall be elementary and fundamental and which can be used to some degree of advantage by teachers who have not had special courses in agriculture. The subjects selected by the Department are as follows: soils, crops, horticulture, nature study, animal husbandry. Joseph A. Jeffery, Professor of Agronomy of the Agricultural College, has prepared a bulletin on the subject of crops along the lines above indicated, and this bulletin has been distributed to the several normal schools and county normal training classes to be used by the students in these institutions in their course in agriculture. This bulletin will be followed during the ensuing year by the following bulletins:
A Study in Soils.
All these will be placed in the hands of instructors in our normal schools and county normal training classes in order that the young people who are going out to teach may have had some specific instruction along agricultural lines and be able to give to the children the elementary ideas of agricultural pursuits. These bulletins are not intended to be textbooks exactly, but are to be used as the basis of simple experimentation and to supplement the use of certain text books that are now on the market.
The bulletin on crops I give herewith in order that it may become a matter of public record.
BULLETIN NO. 26.
STATE OF MICHIGAN,
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
LANSING, November 15, 1907. To Commissioners, Superintendents and Teachers:
The subject of nature study has been discussed for a number of years and has been taught in our public schools with such a degree of success that there is a general demand among those interested in agriculture that the subject of elementary agriculture shall also be taught. The president and faculty of the Agricultural College have given much time and thought to determine just what is meant by elementary agriculture and how much of agriculture can profitably be taught in the rural and village schools.
At the request of this Department, Joseph A. Jeffery, Professor of Agronomy in the Michigan Agricultural College, has prepared the material presented in the following pages as an elementary study in crops, and this bulletin is published for the purpose of putting into the hands of our teachers some simple and definite work in the subject of agriculture. We submit it to the schools and teachers of the State in the hope that it will be of material assistance in presenting this important subject to our students, and that ultimately we may be able to introduce into our courses of study a concise and profitable course in the subject of elementary agriculture.
L. L. Might
Superintendent of Public Instruction. AN ELEMENTARY LABORATORY STUDY IN CROPS.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
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I. A study in seed germination--beans..
V. How the young plants appear above ground-other seeds.
IX. The vitality of bin grains..
The importance of early saving and drying of seed corn..
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The farmer should understand the nature of a seed, its relation to the future plant, the importance of vitality in the seed, the conditions lessening its vitality, and the conditions requisite to preserve its vitality. He should understand also the conditions outside the seed upon which depends the production of vigorous plants. Upon such knowledge depends all rational practice in crop production.
The following course of laboratory exercises has been outlined with a view to giving the pupil the opportunity of demonstrating for himself by actual experiment the importance of such knowledge.
It is expected that some textbook will be studied in conjunction with this work.