North Carolina. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, for the scholastic years ... [serial] (Volume 1900/01-1901/02) online

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For furniture 35.85

For books 5.00

For cost of exhibits at State Fair 100.00

For miscellaneous objects 58.00 4,008.85

Balance cash on hand August 10, 1902 $86.30

364 Biennial Report of the

Our opinion is, that the above gives assurance of most remarkable
economy on the part of the management. At the small stipend of
$800 per annum they have had the services of a Superintendent, who,
in almost any other State, could have had a salary three times as
large. The only explanation is his untiring interest in his noble
work and his devotion to the welfare of our people. His spirit has
influenced his two assistants. These young men have sacrificed
themselves to the good of their fellows.

During the nine years of struggle with pitiful poverty the Normal
School has graduated 105 young men and women. The character of
these graduates can be estimated by the fact that every one of them
has complied with the agreement to teach in North Carolina as a
return for her aid. Of the 44 public schools in Jackson County, 35
are taught by graduates at Cullowhee.

If it could be asserted that these young people are not well quali-
fied to fill their important places, the above statement would be of
slight value. Happily the contrary is the case. Specimens of their
work satisfies us that each is well equipped, in all respects qualified
to the delicate task of training our rising generation. This is sup-
ported by their having won all the prizes offered for that department
in the State Fair of 1900, and ten out of twelve of the Fair of 1901.
ยป The increase in usefulness is manifested by the enrollment of
1900-'01, being 90, and the average attendance 73, which is very re-
markable, in view of the very poor school-house, to which these stu-
dents had to come. A still further evidence of the value of the
Normal Department is that, by its aid, there has been maintained
also an excellent preparatory school, with average attendance of 154
scholars. We believe that at a low estimate the cost of such a school
may be placed at $750 per annum, whereas its only support in money
has been $150 from county, and $175 paid for tuition by 34 of the
scholars. The balance of $425 should in justice be credited to the
Normal Department.

It should be remembered that the small sum appropriated to this
school is the only aid given by the State to any institution west of
Morganton. That this Normal School is the only source from which
we may expect to get competent teachers for almost the whole of the
Congressional District in which it is located; that the white popula-
tion of this large trans-montane district will exceed 150,000. We cer-
tainly urge that the duty, as well as the best interest of the State,
demand that she make a more liberal appropriation to this school.

The appropriation for maintenance we also think entirely too
small. It is unbecoming the dignity of our State to accept the valu-
able services of such men as this Superintendent and his assistants
at so small a stipend. We earnestly recommend that the annual
appropriation hereafter be $3,000.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. 365

Official Letters, Etc.


To County Superintendents, Boards of Education and Patrons of the

Public Schools.

I wish to call your attention to the necessity and advantages of
consolidation of school districts in your county, and to suggest some
means of securing larger districts.


Seventy-five of ninety-seven counties applied for aid from the
hundred thousand dollars appropriated by the last Legislature to
lengthen the school term in every school district in North Carolina
to the constitutional requirement of four months. An examination
of these applicants reveals that 2,290 white districts and 864 colored
districts applied for aid. One thousand three hundred and forty of
the white districts and 522 of the colored districts contained less
than 65 children of school age, the minimum fixed for school dis-
tricts by Section 29 of the School Law and by Chapter 543 of the Pub-
lic Laws of 1901. Fifty-nine per cent of the white districts and sixty
per cent of the colored districts, needing aid in order to have four
months school, contain a school population of less than sixty-five.
This makes it very clear that one chief cause of the weakness of
school districts in North Carolina, and of their consequent inability
to have a four months term without aid from the State Treasury is
to be found in the smallness of the districts. My recent conference
with about forty County Superintendents at Greensboro and Char-
lotte corroborates this and convinces me that one great obstacle in
the way of improvement of our public schools is the multiplicity of
small districts. This is further corroborated by the last reports of
the County Superintendents of the 97 counties of North Carolina
now on file in this office, which show that there are about 5,500 white
school districts for a school population of about 440,000 white chil-
dren of school age, making an average of only about 80 to the school
district, only a few more than the minimum number fixed by the
law. In the light of these facts, I am satisfied of the necessity of
the reduction of this needless multiplicity of small districts by a
reasonable consolidation of many of them into larger and stronger

The following are some of the benefits that I feel sure will be de-
rived from the decrease of the number of districts and the increase
of the size of those districts.

36G Biennial Report or the

(1) An increase of funds for the district. The smaller the num-
ber of districts in the county, the shorter will be the division of
the school fund and the larger will be the amount of money to each

(2) An increase in the number of children attending each school.
This, of course, would mean an increase of enthusiasm and an
improvement in the spirit of the school.

(3) Bringing together several teachers in one school-house. Where
the number of children and the amount of money available justify
the employment of two teachers or more at one school-house, there
would be a clear saving of the time of the teachers, because, in all
probability, few, if any, more classes would be required for the two
or three teachers at the combined school than would be required in
each of the little schools taught in separate school-houses in smaller
districts by each of the teachers. This, of course, with a proper
classification of children, would enable the teachers to give more
time to each class and to secure better results from each child.
With the larger amount of money available, at least one good teacher
could be employed, under whose direction, with assistants, the
teaching would be much better and more economical.

(4) Enlargement and improvement of school-houses. With fewer
houses to build or improve, more money could be spent on each
house. The reports of the County Superintendents reveal that
there are in North Carolina about 584 white districts that have no
houses, and about 376 colored districts that have no houses; about
597 log-houses for whites, and 353 log-houses for colored, besides a
large number of uncomfortable and almost uninhabitable houses,
valued all the way from $25 to $50 each, including land, equipment,
etc. It is highly important, therefore, that, before any more money
shall be spent in building new houses where they are needed, or in
replacing old ones that are worthless, these districts should be
consolidated and enlarged where possible, and the houses should
be properly located in the centre of the larger districts. It is much
easier to do this now than it would be after building a new house
or repairing an old one. We can not hope to have a school that
will command the respect and support of a respectable community
without having a respectable school-house. We can not hope to get
good teachers to teach in a school-house that is a mere hovel. We
can not hope for much improvement in the character of our school-
houses without larger districts, and more money for those districts.

(5) Great economy of funds by reducing the number of houses
and the number of teachers. The last report of the State Superin-
tendent shows that only 32 per cent of the children of school age
were in actual daily attendance on the schools. Most of these

Superintendent of Public Instruction. 367

small districts contain far less than 65 children. Now suppose there
are two districts with a school population of 65 each, the largest
of the small districts. In each of these districts there would be an
average daily attendance of only 21 children. If these two dis-
tricts could be combined, and one central school-house placed within
two or three miles of the most remote child in the larger district,
the average daily attendance in this larger district would be only
42 children. These could be taught easily in one house by one
teacher, so that there would be a clear saving of one house and the
salary of one teacher. In the per capita apportionment of the
school fund, this larger district would have twice as much money
for its one house and its one teacher as each of the small districts
had. It is evident that the large district could have a better house,
a better teacher, and a longer school term.

It ought not to require any argument to prove that with a given
number of children to be educated, the larger the number of child-
ren that can be brought into one place, the more economically they
can be educated, because of a decrease in the number of houses, the
number of teachers, and the cost of fuel and other current expenses.

(6) More favorable conditions for the adoption of local taxation.
in many of the larger districts, with a centrally located school-house,
the conditions would be more favorable for the adoption of a reason-
able local tax for lengthening the school term when public senti-
ment demanded it. Local taxation, if adopted, in a small district,
would not sufficiently increase the school fund to lengthen mate-
rially the school term. A proper districting of the county Would
begin to prepare the way for the adoption and the successful exe-
cution of local taxation in many of the stronger districts, thereby
rendering it feasible to lengthen the school term in those districts
and greatly improve the school-houses and their equipment. In
this way, in all probability, the larger and stronger districts might,
by self-help, soon become largely self-sustaining, leaving finally to
be taken care of out of the general fund and special appropriation
only those districts that were necessarily small or weak because of
peculiar geographical conditions or sparsity of population, the only
two causes for the existence of small, weak districts recognized by
law as valid. This would enable these weak districts to get more
money and to have better schools and longer terms.


In recent conferences with forty County Superintendents and a
number of members of Boards of Education, resolutions were unani-
mously adopted favoring consolidation of districts. I am anxious

368 Bienjstal Report of the

that Boards of Education should adopt this policy wherever it can
be adopted without manifest injustice and detriment to the people.
Section 29 of the School Law declares that no new school shall be es-
tablished in any townsbip within less than three miles by the nearest
travelled route of some school already established in said township.
I think this is a clear declaration on the part of the lawmakers that,
in the formation of school districts, it is not unreasonable to expect
any healthy child, who frequently works on the farm from sunrise
to sunset, to walk as far as two or three miles to school, if neces-
sary. I am sure that this is not an unreasonable requirement, where
the roads are reasonably passable. I remember that I walked three
miles to school every day while getting my preparation for college,
and I am sure that I was better physically for the walk. The same
section also declares that the County Board of Education shall not
create a school district with less than sixty-five children of school
age, unless compelled to do so by geographical reasons or sparsely
settled neighborhoods. By fixing this as the minimum, the law
clearly intends to encourage the formation of districts larger than
this, and to discourage the formation of districts smaller than this.
As stated above, 1,340 white districts and 522 colored districts with
less than sixty-five children applied for aid for a four-months
school. It is certain that the total number of such small districts
in the State is far in excess of this number. I shall ascertain the
entire number of such districts before my next report. If so large
a number of small districts exists because of geographical reasons
or sparsity of population, then our State must have a more wonder-
ful geography and a sparser population than any other State in the
American Union. Section 6 of Chapter 543 of the Puplic Laws of
1901, says: "That no school with a school census under sixty-five
(65) in number shall receive any benefit from the appropriation
made in section three (3) of this act, unless the formation or contin-
uance of such school district shall have been, for good and sufficient
cause, approved by the County Board of Education and the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction."

The only legal cause for the existence of such small districts is
set out in Section 29 of the School Law, quoted above. Circumstance
rendered it impossible to obtain the necessary information for the
strict enforcement of Section 6 this year. I hope Boards of Educa-
tion and County Superintendents will see to it that no district
needing aid shall be excluded from participation in this appropria-
tion next year because of a failure to comply with the clear direc-
tion of the law.

In the distribution of the second hundred thousand dollars to se-
cure a four-months school in weak districts next year, the Superin-

Superintendent or Public Instruction. 369

tendent of Public Instruction can not, it seems to me, under his
oath, approve any application from any district containing less
than sixty-five children, unless satisfied, after a careful examination
of the facts, that good. and. sufficient cause exists for the formation
or continuance of such district.


I have the assurance of County Superintendents that have con-
solidated small districts into larger ones, that, almost without ex-
ception, the great majority of the people in the districts concerned
have seen, after trying it, the advantages of the larger district,
and become satisfied; that, almost without exception, they have
been able to have a better school-house, better teachers, better at-
tendance and more enthusiastic students in the larger districts; and
that most of the people have not only become satisfied with the
change, but greatly prefer it, and take a greater pride in their


There is, of course, a great need for judgment and tact in the
management of this problem, but there is also need for firmness
and justice and a consolidation of the greatest good to the greatest
number. The people should be reasoned with, persuaded and led.
Superintendents, Boards of Education and Committees should ac-
quaint themselves fully with the facts, the geographical conditions,
the population of the districts, the location and condition of the
school-houses, and set about the work of consolidation where the
conditions are favorable and the facts justify it, with intelligence
and produce. The work should be done systematically. The
interest of the entire county should be kept in view. Every Board
of Education should have a carefully prepared map of the county
for guidance in consolidation and re-districting. Where consolida-
tion seems necessary and advantageous, the people of the districts
ought to be consulted, some influential citizens interested and set
to work in these communities, a public meeting probably called, and
the benefits and necessity of the proposed consolidation pointed out.
Where a new house is needed, or an old one is unsatisfactory or
needs repair, consolidation of districts could frequently be en-
couraged by Boards of Education by proposing to build a better
house in the centre of a larger district, if the people will agree to

I realize the difficulty of changing the location of a school-house
after a district has been formed and people conveniently located to
the school have become attached to it, but I believe that many of

370 Biennial Report of the

these people could be reasoned with, shown the advantages of con-
solidation, and induced to consent thereto. I am satisfied that, after
adoption under favorable conditions, the benefits will be so appar-
ent as to overcome opposition and stimulate consolidation in sur-
rounding districts. Wise parents will prefer sending their children
a longer distance to a better school to sending them a shorter dis-
tance to a poorer school. It will not be wise, I think, to force con-
solidation. It will be wiser to set about systematically to create
sentiment for it where it is needed and bring it about as rapidly as
conditions and public sentiment will permit. Rash and radical ac-
tion in defiance of the wishes of the people is always unwise, and
invariably results in harmful re-action. In many counties consider-
able time will be necessary to consolidate all the small districts that
ought to be consolidated, after a careful study of the entire situa-
tion. The work ought to be wisely planned at once in every county,
and pushed as rapidly, prudently and tactfully as possible.

J. Y. Joyneb,
Superintendent of Public Instruction.


The following resolutions were unanimously adopted by the con-
ference of twenty County Superintendents, held in Charlotte, May
1 and 2, 1902:

Whereas, At the educational conference of County Superintend-
ents, assembled in the city of Charlotte, this May 2, A. D. 1902, it
appearing from reports and speeches made that in the territory
represented at this conference, there are a great many small dis-
tricts in which are situated many poor and inadequate school-
houses, and that because of this multiplicity of districts the terms
are short, and the results are necessarily very unsatisfactory:

Be it therefore resolved. That it is the sense of this conference
that an active and vigorous campaign should be at once inaugurated
in every county for the accomplishment of the following ends, tc-

1. The consolidation of small districts wherever possible.

2. The erection of adequate and comfortable school-houses.

3. The lengthening of the public school term by local taxation.

(Signed) James A. Butler,
R. T. Cochrane,
G. T. Heafner,


Simular resolutions were unanimously adopted at the conference
of County Superintendents, representing twenty counties, held at
Greensboro, April 3.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. 371

What County Superintendents Say About Consolidation.

In response to the following letter, the following answers from
County Superintendents have been received:

State of North Carolina,
Office of Supt. Public Instruction,

Raleigh, June 20, 1902.

Dear Shj: โ€” I am preparing to issue at once for general distribu-
tion an Educational Bulletin from my office on Consolidation of Dis-
tricts. I wish to publish letters from a few County Superintendents
showing the results of a trial of it in their counties.

Please write me a short letter for publication, stating what you
have been able to do in the way of consolidation, how you did it, the
results of it, how the people like it, what you hope to do, etc. Please
answer at once, as part of the copy for the Bulletin is already in the
hands of the printer.

With best wishes.

Very truly yours, J. Y. Joyner,

Superintendent of Public Instruction.


The number of districts in Durham County has been reduced from
sixty-five to forty-nine, and still more than nine-tenths of the chil-
dren are within less than two miles of a school, and less than
one hundred of them are as far as three miles.

Durham, N. C, June 24, 1902.
Hon. J. Y. Joyner, Raleigh, N. C.

Dear Sir: โ€” In replying to your inquiry of recent date, I would
say that the work of consolidating school districts and building bet-
ter school-houses was commenced in Durham County four years ago.
The methods employed in doing this work have varied somewhat on
account of changes in the school law; but, in general, we have in-
vestigated thoroughly the territory out of which the new district was
to be made. We have carefully ascertained the number of children
in the proposed district, and the distance each would travel to reach

Then it has been our custom to present our plans and purposes to
the patrons of said district for their approval or rejection. At this
period of our owrk we have sometimes met strong opposition. How
to deal with this opposition is, of all our problems, the most difficult.
Point out the advantages of having better school-houses, better

372 Biennial Report of the

equipments, better salaries, and better teachers. Treat everyone
fairly, and when the school opens and it becomes known that better
work is being done, the opposition will disappear. Those who op-
posed the change most will often be found among the staunchest
supporters of the school.

We have reduced the number of districts from sixty-five to forty-
nine, and yet there are at least 8,500 of the 9,139 children in the
county that are less than two miles from a school, and less than 100
children that are so far as three miles from school.

Hoping that every district in North Carolina may soon have a good
school-house, well furnished, and occupied for at least six months
every year by a good, trained teacher, I am,

Very truly yours, C. W. Massey,

County Superintendent.


Ashboro, N. C, June 21, 1902.
Hon. J. Y. Joyner, Superintendent, Raleigh, N. C.

Dear Sir: โ€” We have recently reduced the number of schools in
one township. It has made a decided improvement, and I believe
that the majority of the people are strongly of the same opinion.

This question is being agitated in the townships where it is
needed most. In some instances the people resent it, in others they
are eager for it. Our great need is money with which to build bet-
ter houses. When the people see that they can get a better house
and a better school, they will be willing to consolidate the smaller
districts. I believe that a determined campaign will arouse the
people to building the school-houses with their own means. It may
take several years to carry this movement into effect, but it can be
done. We must keep at it, bravely at it, till the work is done.
That's what we are going to do in Randolph.

It is our purpose to effect more consolidations this year. The
people need to be educated for this work. This our educational
campaign is doing. We expect to win victories all along, but it is
impossible to win them all at the same time, or even in one cam-
paign. But if one campaign be not sufficient, we will inaugurate
another, and another, and so on till the work is finished.

With best wishes for you in your noble work,

Very sincerely yours, J. M. Way,

County Superintendent Randolph County.

Superintendent of Public Instruction. 373

Concobd, N. C, June 30, 1902.
Hon. J. Y. Joyner, Superintendent, Raleigh, N. C.

Cabarrus County school authorities have been wrestling with the
problem of consolidation of districts for a year. The Board care-
fully studied the county and found a number of districts that could
be consolidated.

Conversations were held with a number of prominent men in those
iistricts to endeavor to arouse an interest in the movement. In
most instances success was the reward. A petition asking the Board
for consolidation was circulated among the patrons. When a ma-
jority of the patrons sign that petition we have smooth sailing.

In instances where the majority are unfavorable to consolidation,
the Board summonses a few patrons from each district to appear
before it to give information as to the width and length of districts,
the central point in combined districts, and distances from this cen-

Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Dept. of Public InstructionBiennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, for the scholastic years ... [serial] (Volume 1900/01-1901/02) → online text (page 37 of 46)