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rel. V. Kilduff, 15 III., 492. People ex rel. v. Mattesoii, 17 III-.^
167. Piatt V. People, 29 III, 72.)

6. Judges of School Eleotions. — At a first election in town-
ship or district, the voters present select two judges and a clerk
from their own number. Subsequently, at township elections,
the trustees are judges, and in districts, the directors. In absence
of these, judges are chosen as at first elections. Omission to
swear the judges does not invalidate an election. People v. Mil-
liard, 29 III., 423. If there is a tie on the question of receiving
a ballot, it must be received ; the presumption being in favor of
the voter. A plurality vote elects ; a tie vote for trustee or di-
rector is decided by lot by the judges on the day of election. In
all votes upon questions, a majority decides; and in case of a
tie thereon, the proposition is lost. The judges of election cer-
tify the poll book, and file it, for a township election, with the
county superintendent, and for a district election, with the treas-
urer. ( §§ 26 and 42.)

7. Adjourmnent of Election. — School elections may be
postponed or adjourned : 1. On account of the small attendance
of voters. 2. Because the legal notices have not been given. 3.
On the request of a majority of the voters present. But in case
of postponement it is necessary, 1. That the judges, before ad-
journing the election, organize themselves into an election board.
2. That the adjournment be ordered by the judges, and not by
the people present. 3. That a notice of the adjournment be writ-
ten and posted up at the appointed place for election. Unless
these conditions are complied with, the postponement of a school
election amounts to nothing, and an election held the same
day, within the time required by law, or designated in the noti-
ces, by a sufficient number of inhabitants, qualified to vote, and
organized into a regular board of election, will be legal and vaHd ;
and the persons so elected, will hold their respective offices, not- .
withstanding the informal postponement. A subsequent election,
held in pursuance of such improper adjournment, will not be
valid, the power of the voters, in the premises, having been ex-
hausted at the regular election as aforesaid. ( People v. Brewer,
20 111., 474. School Law, §§ 25, 42.)

8. Other District Elections. — In case dii-ectors fail to order
any regular or special election for directors, the law provides a



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 207

remedy. (§§ 25 and 42.) But the notices of all other district
elections, such as to extend the term of schools, to build school
houses, etc., can be given by the directors only. Unless a ma-
jority of the directors concur in giving notice and calling such
elections, the law prescribes no means of voting on such questions.
'Eo other officers are authorized to order district elections except
for directors.

9. First Elections. — First elections in incorporated town-
ships may be held on any Monday, notice being given by the
trustees if there are any, if not, by the clerk of the county court.
First elections in school districts may be held on any Monday,
notice being given by the township treasurer. (§§ 25 and 42.)

10. Manner of Contesting. Where a person is in any school
office by color of right, and exercising the duties thereof, a quo
warranto is the proper remedy for another person claiming the
same office, and not a mandamus. A quo warranto is the proper
writ to try the question of title to an office. A proceeding by quo
warranto must be carried on in the name of the people. But to
restrain a board of trustees or directors from doing an illegal or
wrong act, or an act believed to be illegal or improper, a writ of
injunction is the proper remedy. (15/??., 602. Scates' Comp.^
4:72. The People v. Forquer, Breese, 104. The Peojple v. Matte-
son, 17 Jll, 167. Colton v. Banchett, 13 111, 615.)

11. Eligibility of Voters and Officers. — No person can law-
fully vote at any school election unless he is a citizen of the Uni-
ted States ; has resided in the state one year next preceding such
election, and thirty days in the school district or township in
which the election is held. Any white person possessing the
above qualifications, if of lawful age, may vote at any school elec-
tion, except district elections on the question of raising money, in
which case he must, in addition to the above, have paid a tax in
said district the preceding year, or have been assessed in such dis-
trict for the year in which such election is held. ]SI o person can be
elected to any school office who is not a citizen of the United States,
and who shall not have resided in this state one year next before his
election, and who is not a resident of the proper district or town-
ship. {Constitution of 111., art. 6, §§ 1 and 7. School Law, §§ 27,
28, 42.) The law does not make ability to read and write a test of
eligibility to school offices. The good sense of the people must be
relied upon to prevent the election of such men to such positions.



208 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

The best and most intelligent men should be chosen for all edu-
cational offices.

12. Evidence of Election. — The poll book, with certificate of
judges thereon, is the proper legal evidence of the election of a
school officer ; and said poll book and certificate should be return-
ed to the proper officer immediately after every school election-
All voting at school elections, for officers, should be by ballot.
{Const, of III, art. 6, § 2. School law §§ 30, 42.)

13. Day of Election of Trustees Unchanged. — Township trus-
tees of schools are elected on the second Monday in October, as
heretofore. An amendment was proposed in the last legislature,
requiring such elections, in counties under township organization,
to be held on the day of the regular town-meeting, but it did not
pass, being stricken out by both houses, as their records and the
certificate of the secretary of state show. The appearance of that
amendment in the volume of public laws of the last session, was
a clerical error. The only change is that trustees must hereafter
be elected on the second Monday of October annually., instead of
biennially as heretofore.

14. Must he Held on Monday. — All elections for school trus-
tees and directors^ must be held on some Monday. This aj^plies
both to stated annual elections, and special elections to fill vacan-
cies. But all other district and township elections may be held
on any day of the week ; such as to vote on borrowing money to
build school houses, to locate school sites, to extend terms of
schools, etc. The election of officers is the only school election
that the law requires shall be on Monday, (§§ 25 and 42.)

15. EHections in J^ew Districts. — When two districts are
formed, by division, out of one, each district, having different
territory and a different voting population from what it had be-
fore, is to be regarded as a new district, and should therefore
elect a new board of directors, who should draw lots for their re-
spective terms of office, as in case of an original organization.
The same should be done, and for the same reasons, when a new
district is formed by the consolidation of two or more districts,
except when the consolidation is made by the directors, under
section 35, in which case the first new board is filled by ajtpoint-
ment, instead of election. If two districts are consolidated by the
trustees, and the number and designation of one of &e districts is
retained as the number and designation of the new district, a new



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 209

board of directors should nevertlieless be elected. The voting
population being changed by the consolidation, the question of
who shall be directors of the new district should, of right, be refer-
red back to the people.

16. Rejection of Votes. — Any judge or clerk of a school elec-
tion who shall knowingly admit any person to vote who is not
quaMed by law, is liable to punishment by fine, etc. But when
a vote is tendered, and the voter, being challenged, complies with
the requirements of the law in such cases made and provided, the
judges have no discretion, but must receive the vote, unless it is
proven, to the satisfaction of a majority of the judges, that the
voter has sworn falsely. {Spragins v. Houghton, 2 Scam., 408.)

■ 17. Blank Ballots. — Where an election is held to vote on
several designated propositions, and some of the ballots are blank
in respect to one or more of said propositions, it is held that said
blank ballots should not he counted against said one or more propo-
sitions. Thus, if the propositions before the meeting are: to levy
a tax to extend schools, and to enlarge the school house, (both
propositions being voted on at tlie same time) — and if, fifteen
voters being present, it is found that eight of the ballots are for
the tax, and seven against — while but six ballots are for enlarge-
ment, and four against, five of the ballots being silent or blank
in respect to enlargement, hoth propositions are to be considered
as carried, each having received "a majority of all the votes cast,''''
as required by section 48. In other words, blank ballots in school
elections are not to be counted at all. I am aware that there is
a different opinion upon this point, but the rule above given is
believed to conform more closely to the language and meaning of
of the school law, to the interests of schools, and to common sense.
It simply requires a man who is opposed to a proposition, to
say so, by his ballot, and refuses to allow a proposition to be
either adopted or defeated by blank pieces of paper.

18. Ballots Should Specify. — When two trustees, or directors,
are to be chosen at an election, one to fill a vacancy and the other
for a full term, or otherwise, as the case may be, the ballots should
always specify the full term or vacancy, as the case may be,
which the candidate voted for is to fill. Thus: "For trustee, (or
director), for full term, Eichard Roe." "For trustee, (or direc-
tor), to fill vacancy, John Doe," etc. But if the respective
terms of office are not so designated in the ballots, then the same
—15



210 SOHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

must be determined by the persons elected, hy lot, on the day
of election.

19. Zioss of Poll Boole, — When an election is held on the day
and in the manner required by law, and none of the facts that
should ajDpear of record are at all in question, the loss of the poll
book, accidentally or otherwise, does not invalidate the election.
It is simply a case of lost record, which may be cured by the affi-
davit of the judges and clerk, filed with the proper officers, setting
forth the material facts, with the names of the persons elected, etc.
The records of the district or township should also show the es-
sential facts of such election.

20. Province of County Superintendent in Township and
District Elections. — When by the failure of the proper officers to
order township or district elections, (§§ 25, 42), the duty de-
volves upon the county superintendent, all that is required of
him is to cause the requisite notices to be posted up in the man-
ner and places prescribed by law. The election will then be
held and conducted in the usual way, and by the officers or
persons prescribed in the act — no further service in the premises
is required of the county superintendent, who is entitled therefor
to compensation at the rate provided in section 71 of the act.

21. Qualifications of Officers, etc. — The judges and clerks
in school elections should be sworn. ( School Law, section 27.
Scales^ Comp., ^QQ.) But, as elsewhere stated, it is held that omis-
sion to swear them does not, of itself, invalidate the election.
Oaths may be administered to the officers of school elections by
any judge, justice of the peace, notary public, county or circuit
clerk, or any other person duly authorized by law to administer
oaths or affirmations. A supervisor is not authorized to adminis-
ter oaths to said election officers. {^Township Organization
Laws, section 6, art. 8 ; and art. 9.) And if no such authorized
person is present at the opening of the election, the judges thereof
may administer the oaths or affirmations to each other, and to the
clerks of the election ; and the pel-son administering the same
should cause an entry thereof to be made and subscribed by him,
and prefixed to the poll books. Q^cates' Conip., 467.) The school
law does not require trustees and directors to be sworn before
entering upon their duties, nor is there any officer or person de-
signated in the act, or authorized, to administer official oaths to
said school officers.



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 211

22. Questions May he Voted 07i a Second Time, etc. — An
election for a school ojficei' is linal. The law provides for but
one such election a year in each township or district, except in
case of vacancy, etc. But it is held that no such limitation
necessarily applies to voting upon school questions, such as extend-
ing schools, borrowing money, choosing sites, etc. The only
restriction (§ 48) is that ten days' notice must be given, as re-
quired by section 42. Take the case of a school site, for instance :
One may be chosen without due deliberation — or in ignorance of
important facts in regard to title, etc. — or when but a very few
voters were or could be present — or it may afterwards be deter-
mined to divide or enlarge the district, rendering the site chosen
inconvenient — or another and more eligible site, and at less
cost, may subsequently be offered — these and many other equal-
ly strong reasons may make it plainly for the interest of a district
to reconsider the action taken, and to call another meeting for
that purpose ; and it is held that it may legally be done, by the
directors, upon proper notice as aforesaid. The inhabitants
should have the largest liberty in such matters, compatible with
the rights of others, and their rights in the premises are not re-
stricted by either the letter or spirit of the law. If a former vote
is reconsidered or rescinded, it must, however, be done before
expenses are incurred by, or rights accrue to, other parties under
the original vote. And if another meeting is called it must be
by the directors, by whom all notices of district elections must
be issued. ( § 42.) The directors have discretion in such cases —
they cannot be compelled to call another meeting. But they are
clearly empowered to do so, and should not dechne to issue the
notices when it is the wish or request of a majority of the inhabi-
tants of the district.

23. Not to Hold Over. — It is clearly the intention of the law
(§ 42) that school directors shall not hold over beyond the time
for which they were respectively elected. To this end provision
is made for ordering elections by other officers, when the duty is
not performed by those upon whom it primarily devolves. Hence,
if when the term of a director regularly expires, a successor is
not elected, a special election must be called. And if said direc-
tor should continue in office until the next regular election, his
place must then be filled. In that case two directors must be
elected— one for two years, to fill the place of the director whose



212 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

term expired the preceding August; the other, for three years,
to fill the place of the director whose term then regularly expires.
Default in electing a successor at the proper time, does not au-
thorize a director to hold over another full term of three years.



ADDITIONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS DECISIONS.

[ Of the following decisions, some do not fall under any of the preceding
heads, and others are upon points which have been determined since the former
part of the book -was printed, and too late to be included in the classified ar-
rangement ; and are therefore inserted here without any definite order of clas-
sification. The object is to include the latest decisions of the ofiice upon points
of general interest to school officers.]

1. Costs of Suit. — In suits brought for the recovery of any
debt due the school fund, counsel may be employed, when neces-
sary, and a reasonable fee be allowed from the proper school fund.
When such suits are unsuccessful no costs can be charged by any
court before which the case is tried, nor by any constable, sherifl",
etc. ( § 78.) But exemption from costs apphes only to the par-
ticular class of cases designated in the act, namely, " where any
agent of any school fund, suing for the recovery of the same, or
any interest due thereon, is plwintiff^ and shall be, from any
cause, unsuccessful in such suit." The clause, being restrictive
of the common rule in respect to costs, must be limited, in con-
struction to the particular cases described. It is not meant to
grant immunity from costs where suits are brought and judgments
rendered against school officers or their agents, but only when
actions are commenced hy them, and are not successful.

2. But One Bond Required. — ^No township treasurer is re-
quired to execute more than one official bond. When a township
lies partly in two counties, the treasurer will file his bond with-
the county superintendent of the county in which the school sec-
tion, or the greater part thereof, is situated ; and the certificate of
said superintendent will be sufficient evidence to the superinten-
dent of the other county, that the treasurer's bond has been filed
according to law.

3. Residence of School Oficers. — County superintendents
must be residents of their respective counties. If they remove
from the county, their offices are vacated, and must be filled as



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 213

other vacancies. {Soates' Comj?., T98.) Township trustees and
school directors must be residents of their respective townships
and districts. Upon their removal from the same, their offices
become vacant, which vacancies must be immediately filled by
special elections. As far as practicable, trustees should be chosen
from different parts of the township. (§§ 24 and 42.)

4. County Treasurers. — County treasurers are not entitled to
any commission upon school taxes collected and paid over to
them by county or township collectors. ( § 72.)

5. Delinquent District Taxes. — Township treasurers are re-
quired to pass to the credit of each district the amount of special
tax levied and collected in each. To enable them to do so, the
collector, when he pays over the amount collected, should fur-
nish each township treasurer with a statement of the portion of
said amount collected from each district, and a similar abstract
should be fm^nished by the officer charged with the collection of
delinquent taxes. This is clear from section 45 of the act, which
requires the county clerk to deliver, on demand, to each township
treasurer, a certificate of the amount due each district.^ which
certificate, upon any other interpretation than the above, would
be useless, unless the amount due from the whole township
should be collected and paid over at the same time, which rarely,
if ever, happens. The duty of furnishing such separate abstract
is further evident from its absolute necessity, in order to enable
township treasiu'ers to settle with districts as required by law. I
am aware that collectors are not directly required by statute to
furnish such abstracts, and that if they insist upon paying over the
gross amount collected from each township, without regard to
districts, the township treasurers cannot refuse to receive the
money in that way. But from the district plats, and names of
district tax-payers, on file in the office of the county clerk, the
collector can easily make out a statement by districts, and there-
by greatly promote the public interests in respect to school funds.
This course has been pursued in many counties, with the best re-
sults. But if the school taxes of each township are paid over to
the respective treasurers in gross, without division, the treasurers
must ascertain, from the list of tax payers, the respective amounts
collected from each district. And in like manner when the de-
linquent taxes are paid over. To this end every treasurer should
require of directors that the certificate and lists of tax-payers, pre-



214 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

scribed in section 44, be furnisliecl in duplioate — one to be re-
turned to the county clerk, and the other to be retained and filed
for use.

6. When Funds are not in Sand in Season for Apportion-
ment. — School funds can only be apportioned by trustees on the
very days fixed by law. As a rule, trustees should not apportion
funds which are not actually in hand, but if, from unavoidable
necessity, school funds due in April or' October, are not received
at that time, I think trustees would be authorized to apportion^ in
advance, and on the days fixed by law, such part of said funds as
may be safely and surely relied upon. Said funds may then be
paid out to the creditors of the district, as soon as received, instead
of compelling said creditors to wait six months, till next apportion-
ment day. But this course is only warrantable in special emer-
gencies, or unavoidable delays, as aforesaid.

7. Forfeiture of Schedule. — A six months' school is the es-
sential condition of receiving the public school fund. If a district
complies with this condition, but fails to return one of the sched-
ules, said schedule is forfeited; but, if the trustees are satisfied
from other evidence that the six months' school has been kept,
they cannot exclude said district from the apportionment the suc-
ceeding year.

8. Apportionment on Census. — Schools may be taught, either
in six consecutive months, or in diff'erent portions of the year.
If a school is kept from October to April, consecutively, but no
more, it is nevertheless entitled to its proper share of the one
half of the public money appropriated on census the following
October, and in the same manner, if the school should be taught
continuously from April to October. Compliance with the six
months' rule entitles a district to all the benefits of the public
fund.

9. Priority of Debts Due the School Fund. — It is held that
the 6Gth section of the school law, in reference to the priority of
debts due from the executors and administrators of the estates of
deceased persons to the school fund, must be construed as so alter-
ing or amending the 115th section of the statute of wills as to
give said debts priority over all other claims against the estate of
the deceased debtor, "except funeral and other expenses attend-
ing the last sickness, not including the physician's bill."

10. Mortgage does not Lose Priority. — A mortgage upon real



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS, 215

estate taken as security for school funds, does not lose its priority,
if it has been recorded, by failing to foreclose when it becomes
due. It retains its lien until the debt becomes barred by the
statute of limitations.

11. Claims in Favor of the School Fund, etc. — After a claim
in favor of the school fund is allowed in the probate court, or is
put into judgment, it thereafter, like all other claims, bears but
six per cent. Trustees of schools have no right to transfer notes
or mortgages given to the school fund. Whether a mortgage
can be foreclosed for the interest, the principal not yet being due,
is a question for the courts to determine ; it does not fall within
the legitimate province of this department. I may add that I
know of no decision directly upon the point.

12. Sale of School Section in a Full Township. — The ques-
tion has been submitted whether one half of the sixteenth section
in a full township can be sold, there being more than one hun-
dred, and less than two hundred inhabitants therein. It is clear
that this question must be answered in the negative. The pro-
vision for selling part of the school section only applies, and was
only intended to apply, to fractional townships. Indeed the
other construction would be absurd, for, after selling the first half,
by parity of reasoning, the second might be sold in the same way,
and thus the beneficent purpose of the law be directly violated.
The hasty sale of school lands cannot be too carefully avoided.

13. BooJcs and Blanlcs. — The law makes it the imperative
duty of school officers to provide themselves with the several
books and blanks required in the discharge of their respective
duties, and they are earnestly enjoined to a faithful compliance


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Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 23 of 26)