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districts, he must keep the public fund, distributed by the trus-
tees, separate from the district tax fund, so as not to charge two



15S SCHOOIi LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

commissions upon the same funds. Since he gets his commis-
sions in full on that fund, at the time it is apportioned by the
trustees, he must not of course charge another commission upon
the same money when paid out on the orders of directors. In
the case of special district tax funds, and of loaning the principal
of the township fund, on the other hand, the township treasurer
must only retain his two per cent, upon the sums actually j>aid
out or loaned. It is to be regretted that the rule laid down in
section 72, does not govern the whole subject of treasurers' com-
missions. It is clearly contrary to the intention of the law, to
take more than one commission for handling the same money,
and a better and safer rule would be for the treasurer in all cases
to re'ain two per cent, upon the amount of all orders actually
paid, and all sums loaned. But section 34 is too plain for doubt,
and we must take the law as it is. The practice of many treasurers
is to keep a careful record of all funds paid out, and to settle their
commissions account semi-annually, or yearly, by simply credit-
ing themselves with two per cent, upon the aggregate amount of
orders. paid during that period. That course is right and proper,
and makes the whole matter plain, and is therefore commended
to all township treasurers.

34. Over-Payment of a District. — In case a township treasu-
rer over-pays a district, through inadvertence or otherwise, and
the fact of such over-payment is apparent from the records, said
treasurer, or his successor, may retain the amount so over-paid,
from the first funds due, or to become due, said district, and
apportion the same to the other districts of the township, to which
it of right belongs, making the proper entry in his books.

35. To Withhold Funds. — Districts which failed to maintain
six months school the preceding school year, cannot share in
the distribution of the public funds, either on census or schedule,
unless the forfeiture is remitted by competent authority. Town-
ship treasurers must enforce this require. nent of the law, and
witldiold the funds from such districts. The schedules on file
will show if the rule has been complied with. Treasurers will
be governed by the lunar month principle, unless the teacher
and directors cordracted on the calendar month principle. That
is, the schedules must show one hundred and twenty days taught,
including authorized holidays, to entitle a district to public funds.
But if the contract, in a given district, was for six calendar months,



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIOlSrS. 159

then the schedules must show that the school was kept all the
days of the six months embraced in the schedules, except the Sat-
urdays and Sundays. In either case all authorized holidays must
be counted as days taught. Most of the public schools of this
state, and of other states, are conducted on the lunar month prin-
ciple, and it will be so understood by treasurers in deciding
whether a given district has, or has not, sustained a six months'
school, unless, as aforesaid, a different rule was agreed upon by
the parties. Subject to the above directions, treasurers must in-
sist upon full compliance with the six months' rule. It must be
enforced. A district forfeits the funds by falling short one day,
as certainly as if it fell short a month, and the funds must be
withheld in the one case as much as in the other, unless the for-
feiture is remitted, as aforesaid. {8ee decisions relating to teachers^

36. Computation of /w^SeriSS^^.^Considerable confusion and
doubt have existed among treasurers and others relative to the
true method of proceeding under section 61 of the act, where the
interest or principal (or both) of school money loaned, is not paid
when due, or has to be collected by law. The meaning of the
law, and the duty of parties interested, will appear from the fol-
lowing analysis :

Three cases may arise : First, where the interest only is in de-
fault; second, where the principal is only in default; and, third,
where both principal and interest are in default. If the interest
only is in default, twelve percent, per annum must be assessed upon
said interest, from the day of default. Thus, if a note is given
for one hundred dollars, for one year, at ten per cent., and the
interest is a year in default, the amount of interest due by law is
$10, added to twelve per cent, of $10, or $11.20. If the princi-
pal only is in default, 12 per cent, per annum must be assessed
upon said principal from the day of default. Thus, if the above
mentioned note should be collected a year after maturity, there
would be due $100, added to 12 per cent, of $100, or $112.

If both interest and principal are in default, there will be due,
1st, The interest of the note from date to maturity; 2nd, Twelve
per cent, per annum upon that interest; 3rd, The piincipal of the
note; 4th, Twelve per cent, per annum upon that principal, from
due till paid. Thus, if both interest and principal of the aforesaid
note should remain wholly unpaid for two years, there would be
due. the interest for one year ($10), and 12 per cent, of that inter-



160 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

est ($1,20), and the principal, (|100), and 12 per cent, of tliat
principal for one year, ($12). Adding these several sums togeth-
er gives $123.20, tire full amount due on final settlement. Pro-
ceed in tlie same way in any other case.

A general rule, when both interest and principal are in default,
is as follows : 1 : Find the interest on the note from date to ma-
tiirity, at the given rate per annum, and to said interest add 12
per cent, per annum thereof. 2: Find 12 per cent, per annum
of the principal from maturity to settlement^ and add the same to
said principal. 3 : Add the sums obtained under the two fore-
going heads, and the result will be the amount due on final set-
tlement. In other words, to the j)rinci2?al of the note add as fol-
lows : 1 : Interest at the rate prescribed in the note, from date to
maturity. 2 : Twelve per cent, per annum of said interest. 3 :
Twelve per cent, per annum on said principal from maturity to
settlement.

This opinion of the true intent and meanirg of the 61st sec-
tion of the school law is sustained by the highest judicial authority.
The supreme court, in the case of Trustees of School v. William
Bibb, (ll III., 371), decided that twelve per cent, only was to be
charged upon the defaulted interest, when doe and unpaid, and
also upon principal, when due and payable. The court say :

"Two classes of cases are embraced by this act ; one, where interest is due
and unpaid ; the other, where principal is due and payable. In the former
case, the amount of unpaid interest bears interest at the rate of 12 per cent, per
annum ; and it may be sued for and recovered in a separate action. In the
latter case, the principal debt bears interest at the rate of 12 per cent, per
annum, from the time it falls due. The provisions of this act do not apply to
the principal when the debtor is in no default respecting it. It is only when
the principal is due and payable that the rate of interest iipon it is increased.
This, we are satisfied, was the real intention of the Legislature, although it
must be admitted that the intention is not as clearly expressed as in the act of
1835. A different construction would render the law highly penal in its char-
acter. If 12 per cent, interest was to be charged upon the principal on every
failure to make a payment of interest, it would operate very severely upon the
debtor. Loans are made for five years ; and the penalty for failing to pay a
few installments of interest might exceed the principal debt. Such a construc-
tion ought not to be put upon the law, unless it manifestly appears that it was-
the design of the legislature."

37. Hoiv to -Report Districts in Certain Cases. — A district is
the smallest unit of territory known to th&ifchool law. Hence,
however a distiict may have been formed, whether by the direct-
ors, under section 35, or by the trustees, under section 33 — and
however lai-ge it may be, whether consisting of one section of
land, or of the whole township — and by whatsoever name it may
be known, as, "union district", or otherwise— in each and every



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 161

case it must be reported by the township treasurer as one district.
Thus, if three districts are consolidated by the directors, under
section 35, the treasurer must thereafter report the whole as one
district, and not as three districts. The legal definition of a school
district being a portion of territory duly set off for school purposes,
and controlled, when organized, by a board of three directors.
Every such portion of territory must therefore be considered and
treated as a unit, regardless of the mode of its formation, or its
territorial extent.

When a district lies partly in different townships or counties,
the location of the school house should determine where said dis-
trict shall be reported. This is the simplest rule. And it is not
inequitable, because the house is generally in the township or
county which contains the greatest portion of the territory of said
district. It is not necessary or practicable to make returns of
fractional districts. Thus if a district lies partly in two town-
ships, it should be reported by the treasurer of the township in
which its school house is situated, and not by the other treasurer;
and if it lies partly in two counties, the treasurer will report it to
the superintendent of the county in which the school house is,
and not to the other superintendent. By this rule no district can
be enumerated twice, and the report of this office will show the
exact number of school districts in the state.

This decision relates exclusively to the enumeration of districts,
as such ; not to the statistics of those districts, such as the number
of scholars, number of persons under twenty-one, etc.; all of
which, so far as they are susceptible of division, must be returned
to the respective townships and counties, according to the facts,
as provided by section 3T in respect to township statistics. In
case there are two school houses in a district, divided by town-
ship or county lines, one being in each township or county, said
district may be returned as of the township or county in which
the largest portion of its territory is situated; and in the same
manner when there are more than two school houses in a district.

38. Private Schools — Reports of. — Schools kept by private in-
dividuals, in public district school ho jses, after the regular six
months public schools have been taught, should not be considered
and reported as private schools, by township treasurers. Such
schools are mostly attended by the same scholars as attend the
public schools, and to report them as private schools and pupils
—12



162 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

would convey an erroneous impression of the relative number
and condition of public and private schools. Only permanent
schools, or institutions, such as select schools, academies etc.,
which are held in houses of their own, and are wholly indepen-
dent of, and in competition with, public schools, should be report-
ed as private schools.

39. Removal from Office. — Section 32 of the act provides that
a township treasurer may be removed from office at any time, by
the board of trustees. The statute gives to the trustees the pow-
er to remove the treasurer at pleasure. Possessing such a power,
the appointment of another treasurer is of itself a removal of the
former one from office. It does not require a separate antecedent
order of removal, nor to spread upon their records the reason for
removal. {Holhrook v. Township Trustees^^^ III.^ 544.)



DECISIONS EELATING TO SCHOOL DIEECTOKS.

1. Claims Must he Made Within Tftree Months. — When a
new district is formed, it is the duty of the township trustees to
divide the school funds and property, as provided in section 33 of
the act; and since the property must be appraised, and the value
apportioned among the several districts within three months from
the formation of the new district or districts, or be thereafter bar-
red by limitation, the directors of the districts concerned must
see that their claims are presented to the trustees in season. {See
Decisions relating to Trustees^

2. Transfer of Pupils. — Under the law, as amended, the
written permissions required by section 35, in case of transfer of
pupils from one district to another, are required to be delivered
to, and filed by, the township treasurers. While the law is per-
emptory in requiring such permits, it is evidently intended to apply '
to those who desire to avail themselves of the benefit of the public
funds, which can only be drawn by keeping and presenting sepa-
rate schedules. I do not think it is the intention to apply this
rule to the case of pupils coming from other districts, or from dis-
tant places, provided such pupils or their parents are willing to
waive their claim to the public funds. The right of boards of di-
rectors to admit pupils of this class upon the payment of such



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 163

reasonable tuition fee as they may prescribe, can hardly be ques-
tioned. In the case of scholars from unorganized districts, since
they cannot obtain permits from their own directors — there being
none — it is plain that the intention of the law will be satisfied, if
such pupils have the consent of the directors of the district where
they attend school, and township treasurers must pay the sepa-
rate schedules in such cases upon the written consent of the one
board of directors. A director may lawfully sign a permit for
his own children to attend school in another district.

3. Separate Schedules. — It is a fundamental condition of the
law that no pupils can be counted in the distribution of the school
fund, for whom schedules are not kept in accordance with the re-
■quirements of the act. When schools are composed of pupils
from different districts, townships or counties, separate schedules
must be kept for each, and, in such cases, the amount certified in
each schedule must be estimated upon the basis of the aggregate
attendance of all the schedules of the school. The manner in
which the several schedules are to be disposed of when comple-
ted, is clearly pointed out in the act. (§§ 35 and 53.)

4. Union Districts — Proceedings under Sections 33 and 35. —
Section 33 empowers township trustees to lay off their township
into "one or more" school districts. The same section requires
them to prepare a map showing the districts into which the town-
ship is divided, and authorizes them to " alter or change said dis-
tricts at any regular session." It also requires them to make a
new map as often as may be necessary, which means as often as
any changes are made in the boundaries of districts. Power is
therefore expressly given to the trustees to make one school dis-
trict of the whole township if they see fit; and this they may do
at the first organization of the township into districts, or at any
subsequent time, provided only that it be done at a regular meet-
ing of the board. When, however, any portion of the territory
of a township is attached to a district lying partly in another
township, said territory must be excepted by the trustees in con-
solidating the districts of the township, unless consent is given
by the trustees of the other township ; for it is a fundamental rule
that a district cannot be formed out of parts of two townships
without the concurrence of hoth boards of trustees, and that when
a district has been so formed it cannot afterwards be changed
without a like concurrence of both boards. With this exception,



164: SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLIKOIS, WITH

the trustees may consolidate all the districts of the township into
one district, at any regular session, if they see fit to do so.

Section 35 confers the power to consoUdate districts, npon
school directors also. Their power in this respect is as clear and
unquestionable as that of trustees. It is limited only by the nmn-
ber of concurring boards of directors. There must be a majority
of each board of directors in favor of the union or consolidation.
E"© district can be included in the union, at least two of whose
directors are not in favor of it. Districts may be consolidated,
(by consent of the directors concerned), under section 35, at any
time / under section 33 it can only be done at a regular meeting
Trustees may consolidate two or more districts, or all the districts
of the township if they choose, with or without the consent or
concurrence of either the directors or inhabitants of the districts
concerned, and their action is legal and valid, as the supreme
court has decided. On the other hand, two or more boards of di-
rectors may, by agreement, consolidate their respective districts
at any time, with or without the approval of the trustees, and
their action is legal and valid. Within the foregoing limits, the
powers of trustees and directors in respect to the consolidation
of districts, are co-ordinate and co-extensive. IN'either board can
refuse to recognize the legal action of the other. If the trustees
pass an order of consolidation, in the manner prescribed by law,
and at a regular meeting, the directors and people must abide by
it. And if two or more districts are consolidated by the directors
thereof, in manner and form as prescribed by the 35th section of
the act, the trustees must sanction their action, and change the
map of the township in accordance therewith. The trustees have
no discretion in such case — the law is peremptory.

The object of the last part of the 35th section, is not to define
what shall be a "-wmon. district," in distinction from other dis-
tricts. It makes no difference whether two or more districts are
united by the trustees, under section 33, or by the directors, un
der section 35 ; the result is the same in both cases, no matter by
what name and style the new district so established, is designated.
The purpose and intent of the clause in question is to provide
another mode of establishing large and better districts, when oc-
casion requires. The law simply fm-nishes two ways of doing
the same thing. If it is desirable to unite a couple of districts
in order to secure better educational privileges, the trustees may



OrFICIii.L AJSTD JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 165

do it if they see fit ; if they neglect or refuse, then the directors
of the two districts may do it, and vice versa. Each board is a
check upon the non-action, or unwise action, of the other, and
thus the public interests are protected and promoted.. After two
or more districts have been united under section 35^ they cannot
again be divided except by the township trustees. The power of
consolidation only, not of division, is conferred upon directors by
said section. It was the express purpose of the legislature, in
section 35 of the amended school law, to enable boards of direc-
tors of two or more adjoining districts to consolidate said districts,
independently of the action of township trustees, should circum-
stances arise rendering it for the best interests of the respective
districts for the same to be done. In advocating the amendment
it was urged that instances sometimes occurred in which it was
desirable to consolidate districts during the interval between the
regular meetings of the trustees, in April and October, and the
amendment was intended to meet such cases. It was further in-
tended, by the amendment, to provide means by which districts
could be consolidated by the directors themselves, when the trus-
tees should, without sufficient cause, refuse to make such consoli-
dation.

There are therefore two distinct and independent modes of con-
solidating school districts ; one by the township trustees, under
section 33, the other by the concurrent action of the respective
boards of directors. The former can only be done at a regular
semi-annual meeting, in April or October — the latter may be
done at any time. The action of the trustees, in such consolida-
tions, is independent of the petition or protest of the directors, or
inhabitants of the districts concerned — the trustees being authoriz-
ed to act in accordance with their own best judgment and dis-
cretion, and their action cannot be interfered with. In like man-
ner when two or more boards of directors proceed in the exercise
of the power clearly conferred upon them by section 35, and con-
solidate their respective districts in the manner prescribed by law,
their action is equally independent of the trustees, and is valid
and binding to all intents and purposes whatever — the trustees
having no right to interfere with or prevent such act of consolida-
tion. Upon receiving the proper certificate of such consolidation,
duly signed by a majority of each concurring board of directors,
it is the imperative duty of the trustees to cause the map of the



166 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

townsliip to be changed in accordance therewith, and to file the
same with the clerk of the countj court. ]^or does it matter
whether the districts consolidated by the directors are in the same
township or in different townships. The power of consolidation
conferred upon directors by section 35, is, in this respect as exten-
sive as that conferred upon trustees in section 33. The use of the
singular number, " township," in section 35, is not to be under-
stood as restricting the meaning to districts lying wholly in the
same township. Even if the treasurer neglect or refuse to file
with the county clerk a map of the union district, the legal ex-
istence of said district is not thereby impaired, for the provision
requiring a plat of the district to be furnished is only directory?
and is not essential to the validity of the act of directors in the
creation of union districts. {Munson v. Minor, 22 III., 597.)

6. Sale of School Property. — Township trustees are the only
persons authorized by law to sell and convey school houses, sites,
etc. When directors desire the sale of such property, they must
therefore make application to the trustees, whose duty it will
be to make the desired sale and conveyance. (§ 39.)

6. Certificates of Taxation. — Whenever the levy of a district
tax is necessary for the support of schools, the directors must file
with the township treasurer their certificate of the rate to be
levied, together with a list of the resident tax-payers of their dis-
trict, alphabetically arranged. Said certificate and list must be
returned to the township treasurer on or before the first Monday
of September annually. The treasurer is under no obligation
to receive the certificate, if not presented by that time. (§ 44.)
It is essential to the validity of a school tax, that it be certified
to the proper ofiicer on the day designated by law. {Coiagill v.
Long, 15 111., 202.)

The certificate and list of tax-payers should be furnished by
the directors in duplicate, one to be filed by the township treas-
urer in his ofiice, the other to be returned to the county clerk.
The retained list will enable the township treasurer to ascertain
the amount of tax collected, and the amount delinquent, in each
district, when a statement to that efi'ect is not furnished by the
collectors.

7. Buildiny School Houses. — For the purpose of building,
repairing and improving school houses, or purchasing school
sites, the directors, by a vote of the people, may borrow money



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 167

and levy taxes, but the sum borrowed in any one year cannot
exceed five per cent, of tlie taxable property of the district, nor
can the tax levied in any one year exceed three per cent, of said
taxable property. In voting to borrow money, under section 47,
the exact amount should be stated. It is not prudent to leave
the amount to the discretion of the directors. Township treas-
urers, and others, would uot deem it safe to loan money to boards
of directors if the definite sum to be borrowed had not been
voted upon. In all such transactions the greatest clearness and
definiteness should be observed in the proceedings. Everything
should appear plainly on the records. It is the only safe rule.
If the amount first voted is found inadequate, another meeting
may be called and an additional sum voted, etc. But if the peo-


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Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 18 of 26)