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Receipts and expenditures. There are apparently as many different methods of keeping school accounts as there are States and Territories, and no classification of receipts and expenditures can be inade which can be responded to by all State superintendents. That which has been adopted in the present Report has been deemed the best, taking into consideration both the number of State superintendents that are able to reply to it and its value in studying educational questions.
The amount raised by local taxes has increased $801,141 in eleven States and Territories, and decreased $243,832 in seven States and Territories, the net increase being $557,309. The States and Territories participating in the increase are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Dakota, and Montana. Of these, Missouri, West Virginia, and Wisconsin also show increase in the State tax. In Connecticut, where the local tax has decreased by a little more than 6 per cent., there has been a slight increase (less than 1 per cent.) in the State tax.
The total amount expended for public schools in the United States, according to the latest returns at hand, is $111,304,927, being an increase over last year of $920,270. This does not express the real increase, however, since this year, so far as possible, the payments on bonded indebtedness have been stricken out of the expenditures, these sums presumably having appeared as expenses in previous years.
The particulars under which increase or decrease appears are suggestive, as indicating the state of the public mind with reference to the essential conditions of effi. ciency in a school system. The tendency with respect to teachers' salaries has already been noted. Nine States and one Territory show an increase in superintendents' sal. aries amounting to $27,600, and five States decrease amounting to $53,595, giving a net decrease of $25,995. It should be observed that $51,695 of the total decrease must be credited to Massachusetts. According to the full statistics from this State the entire sum paid for supervision in the State is $9,014 more than the corresponding sum for 1884–85, although the total sum paid for superintendents' salaries is as noted, $51,695 less than for 1884–85. The State report throws no light upon this decline in superintendents' salaries. That it is not in accordance with the views entertained either by the State board or by Hon. J. W. Dickinson, who has for many years held the important office of secretary of the board, is evident from their latest utterances upon the subject of supervision.
In the report of the former for the current year we read: “Among the primo needs of the schools, often emphasized in the reports of this board, are better supervision and better teachers in the towns outside the considerable centers of population, Good supervision will secure good teachers, but how to obtain the former in these localities is the problem of the day. In the cities and large towns the concentration of wealth and population affords an easy solution to this question by the employment of a paid superintendent who devotes all his time to the care and improvement of the schools. But the expense of such an agency is beyond the means of the sparsely-settled towns, and it is every year becoming more and more difficult to find persons in such localities competent for the work, or who are willing to perform it gratuitously or for the meager pittance only which the towns can pay.
Mr. Dickinson's discussion of the subject will be found in full in this appendix, p. 43.
COMPARATIVE STATISTICS OF STATE SYSTEMS. The table of comparative statistics of State systems (Table 8), compiled from the preceding tables, expresses the relation of each part of the several Stato systems to every other part. The student of the subject is likely to find here the answer or material for the answer to every inquiry which arises in his mind, so far as the facts are attainable.
Of the many particulars involved, two may perhaps be regarded as more fully representative of the educational situation, viz, the ratio of current expenditure to the population 6-14 years of age, and the ratio of average attendance to the same population. The first expresses the effort put forth by the State, the second its most important outcome, viz, the attendance of pupils upon the instruction.
Between the two, as set forth in the table under consideration, a relation is apparent which cannot be purely accidental.
With three exceptions, the States whose average current expenditure per capita of population 6–14 years falls below the average for the United States (viz, 89.15), also show a ratio of average attendance (to population (–14) below the average for the
nited States (viz, 66.51). The States here referred to are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Minnessota, Missouri, and West Virginia. The three of the above States which give a ratio of average attendance higher than that for the United States are Tennessee, Missouri, and West Virginia. On the other hand, with the single exception of Wisconsin, all'the States in which the ratio of current expenditure per capita of popnlation 6 to 14 is above the average for the United States, show also a ratio of average attendance per capita of population 6 to 14 higher than the average for the country at large.