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216

Duties of a School Superintendent.

COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM OF TENNESSE E.

We have received from R. H. McEwen, Esq., the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Tennessee, a copy of an act, which passed the Legislature in January last, to establish a system of Common Schools for that State. The pamphlet is one of much interest. We have also received, either from the same source or from some other friends of Education in that region, copies of the Report of Committee on Education, in favor of the system which has been established, and a Lecture on Co mon Schools, by President Lindsley, of Nashville University.

From the “ Act' to which we have alluded, with a synopsis of the same by Mr McEwen, and from the • Report,' we learn that in order to accomplish the purposes which are contemplated by the new law, the State is to be divided into school districts, corresponding in limits to what are now called Justice's districts, or what, in other States, would be called townships.The districts are thus rather large; but the population of the State is often sparse ; and provision is made for a subdivision of the districts should it be found necessary. Of these districts as at present limited, there are, in the State about one thousand.

To carry into effect the provisions of the late act, a Superintendent bas been appointed-we believe for two years-whose duties are numerous and responsible. Among them is the duty of preparing and submitting the Legislature, at each regular session, a report containing a statement of the condition of Common Schools in the State ; estimates and accounts of the expenditures of the school moneys; and plans for the improvement and management of the common school fund, and for the better organization of the common schools. He is also, every year, on or before the first Monday of February, to apportion the school moneys to be distributed among the several counties of the State, and the share of each county among its respective school districts. This dividend is to be made according to the proportion which the number of children between six and sixteen in each district bears to the whole number of the same age in the whole State ; and the duty of ascertaining this number, or making out a census, is to devolve, as will be seen presently, on five commissioners for each school district. These commissioners are to be elected by the people, once in two years. They have many and various duties, among which are the following.

1. To apply for and receive from the county trustee all moneys apportioned or collected for the use of schools in their district.

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218

Duties of the District Clerk.

4. The amount of public moneys received in such district.

5. The manner in which the public moneys received, have been expended; and whether any, and what part remain unexpended, and for what cause.

6. What money is received for supporting the school in the district, what by voluntary contribution, and what by rate bill.

7. What part of the money raised for the support of the school, is paid for furniture, wood and incidental expenses, and what part for instruction only.

8. The whole amount of moneys received by the Commissioners during the year ending at the date of their report, since the date of their last preceding report, distinguishing the amounts received from the public fund, and from any other, and what source.

The duties of the school district clerk, above mentioned, to be appointed by the district commissioners, are as follows:

1. To record the proceedings of his district in a book to be provided for that purpose, and enter therein the copies of all reports made by the Commissioners of his district to the clerk of the county court.

2. To keep and preserve all records, books and papers belonging to his office, and deliver the same to his successor in office.

3. To receive all such communications as may be directed to him by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and dispose of the same in the manner directed therein.

4. 'To transmit to the clerk of the county court all such reports as may be made by the commissioners to such clerk.

5. To call the commissioners together upon receiving notice from the clerk of the county court that they have not made their annual report, for the purpose of making such report, and generally,

6. To do and execute all such things as belong to his office, and may be required of him by the commissioners.

It will be seen by the foregoing, that the clerk of each county court is a school officer, according to the provisions of this law. In like manner, as we perceive from the synopsis of the act, the comptroller of the treasury, the county trustee, the county court itself, and the constables, have also certain duties assigned them. Both the district commissioners and the county court clerks are to be subjected to heavy penalties, for neglect to perform their respective duties, and for fraudulent or false reports. The amount of the school fund of this State, was stated in our last number.

On the whole, we are much gratified with the general fea

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tures of the Tennessee Common School system. Its efficiency renains, however, to be tested. Much, in this respect, will depend on the state of the public sentiment, and the intelligence and public spirit of the officers. It will be impossible for the Superintendent alone, to do every thing; though he may, and we trust will, do much. And we cannot but hope that the system, even without much alteration or amendment, will be found entirely successful.

COMMON SCHOOL LAW OF OHIO.

We learn, from the Ohio State Journal, that the Common School Law, which has so long agitated both houses of the Ohio Legislature, has at length become a law. We are also informed from another source, that Samuel Lewis, Esq., has been appointed the Superintendent of Public Instruction for five years.— The following, says the Journal, are some of the leading provisions of the new law.

"To the present annual Common School Fund, which is about $ 104,000, is to be added the revenue from Banks, Insurance and Bridge Companies, and other funds, so as to inake the whole $ 200,000, which is distributed annually, according to the number of youth in each township in the State.

The School tax is increased half a mill, making it two mills on the dollar, to be expended in the several townships where it is collected. The revenue from school lands, fines, &c., is left as heretofore.

The total of means which will be annually applicable to school purposes, will exceed half a million of dollars, as follows:

State School Fund, .. . . . $200,000, Proceeds of two mill tax, (say) . . . 190,000 Proceeds of school fines, &c. (say) . . 120,000

$510,000 The township trustees are required to divide their townships into school districts, and to deposite with the Auditor, a plan of the same, and after the first day of next June, they can only alter the districts at their annual March meeting, on notice duly given. .

Each district elects, on the third Friday in September, three directors, one of whom is to act as clerk and treasurer of the district. This board has all necessary power to transact school 220

Various Duties of School Officers.

business. Among other things, it directs the studies to be pursued, with the single restraint that the English language must be taught. With this may be taught the German or any other language, at their discretion. The directors are supposed to be discreet men, and their general powers are much enlarged. Accurate records are to be kept, and annual reports made to the district meeting and to the township clerk.

The freeholders in each district are a body corporate, with power, at the annual or a called meeting, to vote taxes for purchasing buildings, and repairing school houses; and in all questions, a vote of the majority present decides the measure.

The township treasurer is also treasurer of the tuition school fund, thus saving to the district treasurers all trouble on that account.

The township clerk is township superintendent, with important duties. He fills all vacancies in boards of directors, and should a board refuse to serve, or in case of no election, he appoints a board ; and if the members thus appointed refuse to serve, he goes into the district and discharges all the duty of the board in person-prepares a house, secures a teacher, &c. &c. He takes the enumeration in all the districts, and makes all the returns for the districts to the county auditor ; saving to the district officers an immense labor. He is required to estimate the amount of school fund needed to keep schools in all the districts in the township, at least six months in the year; and if the public provision is not sufficient, a vote is taken at the April election, and the people decide whether the additional sum shall be raised by taxes or not.

The county auditors are county superintendents. Their labor is lessened, but their responsibility increased.

The Court of Common Pleas appoint a board of county school examiners, who hold stated meetings for examining teachers. No teacher is allowed to teach in the common school, any branches other than those named in his certificate. This board has important duties to perform, and it is to be hoped that courts will be careful to select active and responsible men.

A State superintendent is appointed, with heavy and responsible labors. He is to publish a periodical six times a year for all the districts, containing the law, with forms for the district, township, and county school officers. He has a general supervision of the school funds and lands in the State; is to collect all information connected with his station, and report annually to the Legislature. It is expected that he will spend some days in each county in the State during the year. Every school teacher is required to keep an accurate journal, and report quarterly to the district clerk.”

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