statutes Illinois. Laws.

School laws of Illinois online

. (page 15 of 26)
Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 15 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

same rule may be observed with reference to townships divided by
county lines as when the interest of the fund is paid by the swamp
land commissioner directly to the respective township treasurers.
And to this end, said fund should, in such cases, be kept separate
by the county superintendent, so that treasurers of factional town-
ship, may pay out said fund to the proper districts only.

5. Trustees Cannot Borrow Township Funds. — There can be
no question but that the loaning of any portion of the school fund
under the control of the trustees, by themselves, to one or more
of their own number, is wholly without any sanction of law. It
brings their individual interests in conflict with their trust duties,
and, aside from the express provisions of the 42d section of the
act, is contrary to the general principles of law governing trust
relations and official conduct. Such a transaction is of the nature
of a " contract, " in the sense of the statute, and, as such, is expli-
citly prohibited in the 4r2d section of the law. ( Moore v. School
Trustees, 1^ III., 86.)

6. Division of District Funds and Property. — No division
of school funds or property is to be made by the trustees unless
a new district is formed. If a portion of territory is cut off from
one district and attached to another, thereby changing the boun-
daries, without establishing a new district, no division of funds
or property can lawfully be made. This applies also to the case
of the dissolution of a district, by attaching one portion of it to
one adjoining district, and the other portion of it to another ad-
joining district, thereby abohshing the first named district. In
such case, each of the adjoining districts will take what falls to it
by the division line of the trustees, and no more. JNTo other dis-
tribution of the property of the divided district should.^be made.
The house, etc., belongs to the district to which it falls Iby the ac-
tion of the trustees. As neither of the two districts has any claim
to the school property of the other district, the one to which the
said property does not fall, has no right to complain : while the



one to' which said property does fall, should be thankful for
its good fortune. When a new district is formed, all funds
on hand must be distributed at the time such new district is
formed, and all funds due, but not yet paid in, must be divided
as soon as received ; and the distribution, in both cases, must be
made in proportion to the amount of taxes collected from the
property remaining in each district. "When a new district is
formed, the school 2^''^operty, such as houses, sites, etc., must be
appraised, and the value thereof apportioned among the several
districts in proportion to the amount of taxable property remain-
ing in each district. The law requires a promj)t division of funds
and apportionment of the value of school property. The ap-
praisal and apportionment of the value of school property should
be made at the time the new district is formed, and unless such
appraisal and apportionment is made within three Tnonths, it is
barred by law, and the parties cannot thereafter demand the apprai-
sal and division of said property. For refusal to make the appraisal
and distribution required by law, the trustees are liable. ( § Y6.)
It will be observed that funds and property must be apportioned
by different rules — the former on the basis of taxes collected,
and the latter on that of the taxable property remaining in each
district. These rules of distribution must be strictly adhered to.
When a new district is formed by consolidation of two or more
districts, the new district so formed owns all the corporate funds
and property of the constitutent districts. ( § 33.) Where a
school house belongs to a district, but not the site on which it
stands, the appraised value of said house must be apportioned as
above. The fact that the district does not own the site, does not
release it from the obligation to divide the value of the house
which it does own, and which both districts helped to build. After
the school property is appraised and apportioned as aforesaid, it
is optional with the directors of the district in which the school
house and other property is situated, to retain the same, and levy
a tax upon their district to pay the amount due the other district,
or to cause the same to be sold and the proceeds to be apportioned
as aforesaid. Should they elect to retain the property and fail or
refuse to levy the amount due the other district, the trustees of
the township must sell said property by auction or otherwise, and
divide the proceeds as aforesaid. Or the directors may be com-
pelled, by writ of mandamus^ to levy the necessary tax. (§49.)


Y. Formation of Districts and Change of District Boundaries.
Anthofity to lay off townships into school districts ; to form new-
districts ; and to alter or change the boundaries of districts after
they have been established, is vested by law in boards of town-
ship trustees. In deciding this point, the supreme court hold
the following conclusive language :

"No vote of the people ; no petition is required ; but the trus-
tees are peremptorily required to lay off the township into dis-
tricts ; and they are directed, in so doing, to suit the wishes and
convenience of the inhabitants of the township. There being no
mode provided by the act by which this is to be accomplished,
the board must necessarily take the responsibility of deciding the
question, acting upon the best lights before them, and exercising
"their best judgment. They must perform that duty ; and their
honest action cannot in this manner be inquired into ; and the
power to alter and change districts, when once established, is ex-
pressly given to the trustees, by the same section — the only limita-
tion being, that it shall be done at a regular meeting of the board."

"While no change or alteration can be made in the boundaries
of school districts, except at a regular session, yet if a proposition
to alter or change a district is presented at such regular meeting,
but not acted on, for want of time or other sufficient reasons, such
proposition may be taken up and disposed of at an adjourned
meeting. Such an adjourned meeting is to be regarded as merely
a continuation of the regular session. But no proposition to change
the boundaries of districts can be considered or acted upon by the
trustees at auy adjomiied meeting, unless said proposition was
first submitted to them at a regular semi-annual meeting. The
regular meetings of trustees may be continued from day to day,
or adjourned to be held at any other time. Trustees are author-
ized to divide their townships into one or more school districts,
being governed in the number of such districts only by what the
best interests of the township seem, in their judgment, to require.
Districts may be established, composed of parts of two or more
adjoining townships or counties ; in which case the concurrence of
the trustees of the interested townships is necessary ; but, when
such districts are formed, they cannot be changed without the
consent of a majority of the trustees of each township. The
same parties whose concurrence is required in the formation of
such districts, must concur also in the dissolution or change of
such districts. It is not necessary that the several boards of trus-
tees meet together in joint session in order to "concur" in the


sense of the act ; all that is essential is that each board should
agree to the proposed action. {Jletz v. Anderson, 23 III., 463.)
8. /Schedules — Six Months Rule — Day of Apportionment. —
Trustees are personally liable for any loss resulting from their
neglect to apportion upon a schedule before them which has been
legally accredited by the directors and filed with the township
treasurer. It is their duty to allow every schedule so reported
and filed, its just share in the apportionment of the public funds
in proportion to the attendance certified, except in cases of mani-
fest deception or fraud, which always vitiates. Trustees have no
more right to cut down the schedules to an average of six months,
than they have to prescribe a uniform rate of teachers' wages in
the township. They must apportion one-half by schedule, no
matter whether one district has had more school than another, or
not — that is no afl:air of the trustees, so far as dividing the money
is concerned. Xor does it concern the trustees whether a special
tax will be necessary or not, in each district ; that is the business
of the directors. Each schedule must receive full credit for the
" attendance certified," whether it be ten days, or ten thousand.
One-half is apportioned upon the census, for the benefit of the
weaker districts, where the attendance is less, and schools cannot
be sustained more than six months in a year — ^the other half,
upon the schedules, to encourage a full attendance, and longer
terms of school. It is by no means the intention of the law to
limit the term of school to six months, but to promote extension
beyond that time, and as an incentive to this, each district has the
benefit of such extension, in the increased sum apportioned upon
schedule. This wise and excellent provision would be of no ef-
fect, if any board of trustees could, at will, cut down all the sched-
ules to a minimum average, or to any other average. It is sup-
posed by some that trustees cannot apportion funds on schedules
covering a less period than six months. This is an error, and
arises from a misapprehension of the law requiring a six months
school. The six mouths school may be taught at any time during
the year^ — either in six consecutive months, or at different times
in the year, and the trustees must apportion the funds upon all
schedules which are returned in time, without regard to the num-
ber of months embraced in each of such schedules. The time
for the return of schedules, and for the apportionment of the
school fund upon them, is fixed by law and cannot be changed.


Trustees mnst distribute tlie funds upon the very day prescribed
in the act, and must exclude from such apportionment all sched-
ules not returned to them at the proper time. They have no dis-
cretion in the premises. The duties and powers of trustees of
schools in the distribution of the school fund are regulated by
legislative enactment. In that respect they have no discretion
whatever. They must distribute this fund at the time and to the
persons, and for the purposes directed. They are compelled to
pursue the requirements of the law. Any schedule not deliver-
ed to the township treasurer at least two days before the first
Monday in April and October, may be rejected. The law fixes
the time for the return of schedules, and the trustees may lawfully
"refuse to accept any that are not returned by that time. {Thomas
V. Trustees of Schools, 16 III., 163. Cotton v. Trustees, etc., 20
111., 607. School Law, §§ 53 and 54.)

9. Trustees may Re-sell Torfeited School Lands. — When de-
fault is made in the payments due for school lands sold, and, to
secure the townships, the trustees purchase such lands and se-
cure the title in their corporate name, when said lands are re-
sold, the trustees are the proper persons to mate such sale. This
will appear from the following considerations :

Prior to the original sale, the title vests in the state. The first
sale can only be made by the county superintendent. The origi-
nal purchasers can only obtain their patents from the state,
through the superintendent. But after the original sales have
been efifected, and patents have been issued to the purchasers,
and the title of the state has thus been alienated, it would seem
to follow that the jurisdiction of the superintendent ceases. The
state, which the superintendent represented, and for which he
acted, having now conveyed its title, and vested the same in the
purchasers, the official relation of the county superintendent to
the land terminates — ^his agency is no longer needed. The own-
ers of the land have now a perfect title, and may, therefore, grant
a good title to those purchasing from them. The trustees having
bought in the land and acquired title in the manner aforesaid,
may undoubtedly re-sell and convey, in their corporate name, as
aforesaid. The law is everywhere very careful to protect school
funds. No costs are allowed in any suit for the recovery of the
school fund or any interest due thereon, when such suit is unsuc-
cessful. The land in question has been once sold by the super-


intendent — lie has had his commissions for selling it. If he may
sell and re-sell the same piece of land, over and over again, there
would be no limit to the amount of his commissions. It cannot
be supjDOsed that the law contemplates more than one commis-
sion to the same officer for selling the same piece of land. If the
t'imstees sell, no additional cost will be incurred, for the law does
not entitle them to pay for that service. Sections 90 and 91, do
not describe this case — they refer to the unsold lands; this is
forleited land. The power to sell is clearly given to the trustees,
in the 41st section of the act. To accord with the spirit of the
law, therefore, the proper construction in all cases embraced
within the present inquiry, would seem to be : That forfeited
lands, within two years fi'om valuation, should be sold by the
trustees, at that valuation — and, that alter two years, they should
be ao-ain valued, without petition, and sold by the trustees.
(§§83 to 96.)

10. Payment of Treasurers as Clerics. — Boards of trustees
must make a reasonable allowance annually to township treasu-
rers, for their clerical services, to be paid out of the township
fund. The amount so allowed must be deducted from the town-
ship funds, in addition to the several amounts specified in section
34 of the act, before the apportionment is made to districts.
(§§ 34 and 72.)

11. Title to School Property. — The title of all school houses,
sites, and other property, is by law expressly vested in the board
of trustees, in their corporate name, and aU deeds and convey-
ances of such property, must be made to the trustees for the
benefit of the district. School directors cannot legally receive
and hold such deeds and conveyances. In like manner all dona-
tions, grants or demises, made for the benefit of any district,
should be conveyed through the township trustees. ( § 2>^.)

12. Who may Sell and Convey. — It follows from the prece-
dino' decision that when, in the opinion of school du-ectors, the
school house, or site, or other school property, becomes unneces-
sary, unsuitable or inconvenient, the township trustees must sell
and convey the same, and place the proceeds to the credit of said
district. As the directors do not hold the title, they cannot sell
the property. When district property is sold and conveyed by
the trustees as aforesaid, the conveyance must be executed by the
president and clerk of said board of trustees. ( § 39.)


13. Special District Taxes. — Township trustees have no con-
trol whatever over special district taxes levied by orders of direc-
tors for the benefit of their particular district. All such taxes
are paid by the collectors directly to the township treasurer, and
by him passe^l to the credit of the proper district, and paid out on
the order of the directors thereof. (§ 45.)

14. Trustees to talce Census of Children. — As one-half of the
township fund is to be divided among the districts in proportion
to the number of children under twenty- one years of age in each,
it is important to know upon whom the law devolves the duty of
taking such enumeration. This duty is unquestionably devolved
by law upon the townshi]) trustees.^ who must either take said cen-
sus, or cause the same to be done by the township treasurer, or
such other person as they may appoint. The trustees alone are
by law responsible. ( §§ 16, 21, 36, 37, 76, etc.) As school di-
rectors have a deeper concern than any others, in the taking of
the census, it is presumed that they will generally be willing to
perform the duty, if appointed by the trustees.

15. designation. — When township trustees resign, which
they may do at any time, their resignations should be tendered in
writing and delivered to a member of the board, or to the clerk,
so that there may be due evidence of the fact, and that immediate
steps may be taken to fill the vacancy. The persistent refusal of
a township trustee to serve may be regarded as equivalent to a
resignation ; or, he may be compelled by mandamus to discharge
the duties required of him by law.

16. 3lust Pay Over Funds. — Township trustees must cause
all moneys for the use of the township to be paid over to the
township treasurer ; he is the only legal custodian of said funds,
and he only is under bonds for their security. The retaining of
any portion of such funds in their own hands, by the trustees, or
permitting the same to be retained or held by any other person,
except the township treasurer, is a violation of law for -^hich
they are liable. ( §§ 40, 62, et al.)

17. Must Sell Lands hy Fullic Auction. — All lands coming
into the possession of township trustees must, when sold, be ap-
praised and sold by public auction, the same as common school
lands ; they cannot legally be sold at private sale. In all such
cases the trustees are the proper persons to advertise the sale,
since the title vests in them. They may employ the services of


the county superintendent as their agent to conduct the sale and
make out the papers, etc., if they see fit ; but the duty of the
trustees to advertise and their right as trustees to sell, are too
plain for doubt. (§§ 41, and 83 to 96.)

18. No Petition Necessary. — "When trustees of schools fore-
close a mortgage and obtain a master's deed to a piece of land,
they may sell said land at any time, by giving the notice re-
quired in section 87. ISTo petition of the inhabitants of the town-
ship is necessary. A petition is required in order to sell the 16th,
or common school section, but in no other case. ( § 41.)

19. Cannot Withdraw Funds from Treasurer. — Township
trustees have no right whatever to withdraw the bonds,
notes, mortgages, moneys and effects, denominated the principal
of the township fund, nor the funds subject to distribution, from
the custody of the township treasurer, and deposit the same in a
bank, or other place of supposed greater safety, or for any other
purpose.. If they do, they are individually liable in case of loss.
By section 62, the treasurer, upon the execution and approval of
his bond, '■''shall demand., recei'oe., and safely Iceep, all moneys,
books and papers of every description belonging to his town-
ship." Section 40 declares that trustees '''•shall cause all moneys,
etc., to be paid over to the township treasurer." The safety of
the funds and effects of the township is in the sufficiency of the
treasurer's penal bond, and of his securities ; not in the supposed
material strength of the place of deposit. The treasurer takes
that risk. If trustees take an insufficient bond, or accept in-
adequate securities, section 74 makes them individually liable.
They may increase the securities to any necessary extent, but
they cannot withdraw the funds and papers.

20. Cannot Release Securities on Treasurer'' s Bond. — Township
trustees have no power whatever to release the securities of a
township treasurer from their liability on his bond. If suit is
brought against a township treasurer, by action of debt on his
bond, and judgment is obtained and execution issued, and no
property of treasurer is found out of which to make the debt,
and recourse is had upon the property of his bondsmen, the
trustees cannot, under any circumstances whatever, make an or-
der releasing said bondsmen, and requiring the officer to desist
from making the money out of their property. By so doing they
become themselves liable, jointly and severally, in an action on


the case, for the whole amount of the debt, lost by their official
misconduct ; and the same can be recovered in an action brought
by the county superintendent, for the use of the proper town-
ship. A creditor cannot release one of two joint debtors and
retain a legal obligation against the other. This the law will
allow no ingenuity of language to effect. It is either a release of
both, or it is of no benefit to either. ( Rice v. Webster et al.y 18
111, 332. School Law, 1865, §§ 64, 74,' etc)

21. Apportionment of Funds— How and When. — One-half of
the funds on hand the first Monday of April, in any year, must
be apportioned upon schedules of schools taught since the first
Monday of the preceding October ; and one-half of the money on
hand on the first Monday of October, of any year, must be appor-
tioned upon schedules of schools taught since the first Monday of
the preceding April. The trustees, at their meeting the first Mon-
day of April, have no right to make distribution upon the sched-
ule of any school taught prior to the first Monday of the preced-
ing October. All schedules made between the first Monday of
October, and the ensuing April meeting of the trustees, must be
presented at said April meeting, and distribution made thereon,
or they are barred by limitation ; and so of all schedules made be-
tween the first Monday of April and the ensuing October meet-
iug of the trustees ; they must be acted upon at said meeting, or
not at all.

The six months rule of the law, having reference always to the
preceding school year, and the school year always beginning Oc-
tober 1, and ending September 30, the trustees can always know,
with absolute certainty, whether any given district is, or is not,
entitled to its distributive share of the public fund. When a
schedule is presented to the board, on the first Monday of April,
the trustees have simply to see whether the district from which
said schedule came, had, or had not, maintained a six months
school during the school year ending the 30th day of the preced-
ing September. This they can ascertain from the schedules on
file in the ofiice of the township treasurer. In a word, any dis-
trict having a six months school during the school year ending
September 30 of any year, is entitled to its distributive share of
public funds, both upon census, and upon any and all schedules
presented, the following April or October.

Ko apportionment can ever be made upon the same schedule


hut once. Bj apportionment is meant tlie ascertaining, from the
attendance certified in the schedules, what portion of the pubhc
funds each district is entitled to. It does not mean 'payment^ but
division, or distribution, preparatory to payment. The trustees
apportion the funds; the treasurer pays them out, upon the orders
of the directors. When apportionment has once been made upon
a given schedule, that ends the matter, the trustees can never use
said schedule again ; it is dead, and must be filed away by the
treasurer among the other dead papers of his office. It is of no
further account or value, except as evidence of past transactions,
for which purpose alone it is preserved among the other archives
of the treasurer's office. Schedules must be filed with the town-
ship treasurer on or before the day fixed by law, viz, two days
before the first Monday in April and October. The language is
peremptory. {Cotton v. Reed et al., 20 III., 608. School Laio
1865, §§ 53 a7id 54.)

22. May Teach in Township). — It is held that a township
trustee may lawfully teach a school in his own township. It is
not in conflict with any provision of the school law, properly in-

23. Appraisal of School Property. — As stated elsewhere in
this work, no division of funds or property is required when a
portion of territory is detached from one district and attached to
another, but only when a new district is established. When a
new district is formed, the law, (§ 33), makes it the duty of
the township) trustees to appraise the school property of the old
district or districts, but does not specify the particular manner in
which it shall be done. It is only provided that it shall be done

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 15 of 26)