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with this provision of the act. ( §§ 42, 43, etc.)

14. Cities and Incorporated Towns. — Schools in cities and in-
corporated towns are managed and conducted in accordance with
such special acts and ordinances as may be in force in relation to
schools ; nor are such special acts, ordinances, etc., repealed or
changed by the general school law as amended. But it is the
duty of the school boards, or other officers, having charge of
schools in cities and towns, to furnish the same statistical infor-
mation as is required of corresponding officers in districts and
townships, under the general law; and the said statistical reports
must be furnished annually, and the rendering of said reports is
a condition precedent to the right of any city or incorporated



216 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

town to receive any portion of the common scliool fund; of wHcli
all county superintendents and others concerned must take due
notice and govern themselves accordingly. ( § Y9.)

15. Wlien Souse is too 8mall^ etc. — School directors have no
power to build a school house without a vote of the people.
(§ 48.) Nor have they any power to build a larger house than
the people authorize. If the vote is only for a house 12 x 20, the
directors cannot build one 36 k 48. If the house voted is too
small to accommodate the children of the district, the directors
should endeavor to obtain another vote for a larger house; if
they fail in this, they must try to procure additional accommoda-
tions, by renting, or otherwise. But if they can neither induce
the people to authorize the erection of a house of proper size, or
to enlarge the present house, nor obtain the additional room re-
quired, by renting, or otherwise, then they must refuse to admit
more scholars than the house can comfortably hold, no matter
how many are thereby, for the time, excluded. They must not
crowd and pack the house with papils, far beyond its limits, re-
gardless of consequences to health and comfort. School directors
are not required to perform impossibilities ; they are powerless to
raise funds for building purposes without a vote of the inhabitants.
They must leave no lawful means untried to provide accommoda-
tions for all. But if they exhaust all their legal powers, without
effect, the responsibility rests upon the inhabitants, not upon the
directors. They cannot transcend their legal powers, nor can
thoy be required to build or enlarge school houses at their own
expense. But they have no right, because the needful authority
to build is wrongfully withheld, to commit a greater wrong by
jeopardizing the health, and even the lives, of the children, by
admitting more than the house can safely accommodate. The
law requires no such thing — humanity forbids it.

16. School Taxes Collected from Persons of Color. — In town-
ships where there are persons of color, a portion of the school
fund equal to the amount of all school taxes, of every description,
collected from such persons of color, must be allowed them, un-
less, by consent, the children of a colored tax-payer are allowed
to attend the public schools, in which case such tax-payer would
have no just claim to receive back the school taxes paid by him.
The requirement to refund is peremptory, and can be enforced by
law. It is not conditioned upon demand being made by the col-



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 217

ored tax-payers; it is tlie duty of the trustees to ascertain the
facts, and refund accordingly ; either to the individual tax-payers,
or to some one of their number, who may be found authorized to
receive the money. It is hoped that no board of trustees in the
state is capable of the disgrace of withholding funds collected
from colored persons, and expending the same for the support of
schools from which the children of said colored tax-payers are
excluded.

17. Pupils from Unorganized Districts, etc. — In the ease of
children of unorganized districts attending school in other dis-
tricts, all that can be done is to allow the district in which the
school is kept the benefit of the attendance of such children —
since the requirements of section 35 cannot in that case be com-
plied with, there being but one board of directors. Add the
attendance of pupils from the unorganized district to that of the
resident pupils, and apportion one-half of the fund on the aggre-
gate attendance of hoth. In this way the district in which the
school is taught will be reimbursed, in part at least, for the
instruction of the scholars from the unorganized district. If
children are sent from an organized district into another district
to school, the former is liable for its full proportion of the wages
of the teacher, as shown by the separate schedule, and must levy
a special tax to pay the same, if necessary. This applies to or-
ganized districts which have forfeited the public funds by failing
to maintain six months school as required by law. It is a funda-
mental rule of the law that every organized district shall pay the
amount certified to be due the teacher of the school to which its
children are sent, and the claim can be collected by law.

18. Liabilities of Retiring ScJiool Officers. — The money in
the hands of the county superintendents and township treasurers,
on their retirement from office, is the property of the county or
township, to be used for school purposes ; and it is their duty to
deliver it over specifically, or in funds of equivalent value, to
their successors in office. If the money was of par value when
received by them, and, being retained by them after their official au-
thority over it ceases, it subsequently depreciates, the loss falls on
them. {Hamilton V. Coolc County,^ Scam., 61%.) A county super-
intendent, or township treasurer, is not entitled to any commissions
upon funds paid over to a successor, as this would involve the
deduction of two commissions from the same funds, which is



218 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

contrary to tlie intent of the law. The correctness of this view
of the case is further apparent from the fact that a number of
changes of incumbents may occur before a given sum of money
is finally disbursed or loaned, and if each retiring officer retains
two per cent, when he turns over the money, a large part of the
original amount might be absorbed in commissions.

19. Township Treasurers to Call for Funds. — It is the duty
of township treasurers to call upon the county superintendent for
the funds due their respective townships, upon being duly notifi-
ed that the same are ready for distribution. (§ 19.)

20. Action on Treasurer's Bond — How and Where Brought. —
In all cases where recourse by suit on a township treasurer's bond
becomes necessary, the suit should be brought by the board of
trustees, in their corporate capacity, in the circuit court. {Thomp-
son V. Board of Trustees^ 30 111., 99.)

21. Name and Style of Districts. — Every school district must
be designated by some number, (§ 48), and no district should
have but one number. When two districts are consolidated, the
new district should take the number of one of the constituent
districts, and not of both. Such a designation as district num-
ber 4c and 5, for instance, is improper — it should be either one
or the other. The rights and claims of parties against a school
district are not impaired by a change of the name or number
of said district. If a teacher or other person have a legal claim
for services, etc., against district number one., and before said
claim is satisfied, said district, by consohdation or otherwise, is
changed to number two., said claim is as valid against the dis-
trict by its new number as by its original number, and may be
enforced accordingly. The corporation continues ; the designation
only, is changed. ( 11 HI., 659. 28 111., 133.)

22. Appeals.-— \t is the duty of county superintendents to
hear and (ietermine all controversies arising under the school
law, (§20), and to inform the parties concerned that such
cases should not be submitted to, and cannot be entertained by,
this department, until they have been passed upon by the county
superintendent, as required by law. This applies only to ques-
tions of a controversial character. County superintendents will
be careful, in appeals, to state all the material facts, to the satis-
faction of the parties, for the decision of the state superintendent
will always be rendered upon the statement given and certified



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 219

by the county superintendent. Where an agreed case cannot be
made up, the county superintendent will state the facts of the
case to the best of his knowledge and belief, and attach his certi-
ficate thereto, and the opinion of the state superintendent will be
based upon such certified statement. Attention to these points
will save parties, and this ofiice, from much unnecessary trouble,
and greatly promote the quiet, prompt and satisfactory adminis-
tration of the school system.

23. Official Papers Cannot be Returned. — Section 3 of the act
requires the state superintendent to file., Iceep and preserve, all
books, reports, papers, and other public documents, coming into
his hands as state superintendent. This embraces all letters,
papers, and documents of Qv&rj description, addressed to the
state superintendent upon any official business relating to the
educational or other duties of his office, and is the reason why he
cannot return such papers, etc., to the writers, as is sometimes
requested. He is obliged to file them. Correspondents should
therefore retain copies of such papers as they wish to preserve ;
or transmit in duplicate, in which case one copy will be returned,
if desired. Attested copies of any ofiicial paper will be cheerfully
furnished, when requested, but the originals cannot be returned.

24. Principal of Township) Fund. — The entire interest of
the township fund on hand must be distributed in April and
October. It has been supposed, from section 62 of the act, that
boards of trustees have some discretion in the matter, and may
in some cases set apart a portion of said interest to be added to
the principal. This is a mistake. A subsequent section, {'oQ),
declares that no part of the interest of the township fund shall
be carried to the principal, but that the whole of such interest,
rents, profits, etc., shall be distributed semi-annually; and the
requirements of section QQ must govern.

All fines and penalties collected from trespassers upon common
school lands must, however, be added to the principal of the
township fund. {See fi-'st part of section 82.) So, also, the
amount collected from purchasers of school lands, for failure to
secure the payment of the purchase money, as required by law,
must be added to the principal of the township fund. ( See section
89.)

25. Subscription Papers. — Where several persons sign a sub-
scription paper, payable to a teacher, whereby each one agrees to



220 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

pay the sum set opposite to liis name, as tuition for tlie instruc-
tion of liis children, and the school is taught by the teacher,
according to the terms of the agreement, an action may be
maintained by the teacher against any subscriber who neglects
or refuses to pay his subscription. This applies not only to what
are known as "subscription schools," but also to subscribers
where a teacher is authorized by the directors to receive, as
additional compensation, such tuition fees from non-resident
pupils attending the school, as may be agreed upon between
the teacher and the parents of such non-resident pupils. Such
arrangements are not recommended, in connection with the
jDubhc free schools, but if made, payment may be enforced by
the teacher against each subscriber. The directors, however,
have no responsibility in such cases — the transaction is wholly
between the teacher and his subscribers. If the latter do not
pay, the teacher must look to them and not to the directors.
{Bobertsonv. March, ^ Scam., 1%'^.)

26. Personal Proi^erty — Where Taxable Under the School
Law. — "While personal property generally follows the residence
of the owner, and is there taxable; yet if permanently located else-
where, it may, under the school law, be taxed where so located ;
and a party who complains of a school tax, as levied in a certain
district, must show that the property was not taxable in such district.
( Mills V. Thornton, 26 111, 300. King v. McDrew, 31 HI., 418.)

27. School Pi'ojjerty — When Exemj^t from Taxation. — In
order to exempt school property from taxation, it must be held
by the school directors, under such title as will give them the
right to possess and control it at all times for the use of the
district. The fact that property may have once been used for
the piu'poses of a public school, does not of itself give it the
character of public school property, after it ceases to be so used.
The school property which is exempt from taxation by statute .
embraces all lands donated for school purposes and not sold or
leased — all public school houses, with their books and furniture,
etc., and the grounds attached to such buildings necessary for the
proper occupancy use and enjoyment of the same, and not leased
or otherwise used with a view to profit. Exemption from tax-
ation, so far as property of public schools is concerned, is
limited to such property as is actually used for school purposes
and is subject to the actual and exclusive control of boards of



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 221

school directors. Hence real estate, or other property, coming
into the possession of school districts' in satisfaction of debts, etc.,
and not actually used for school purposes, is not entitled to the
benefit of the exemption provided by the statute. {Scates^ Comp.^
1030. jPace v. Go. Commissioners, 20 HI., 644.)

28. Commissions on Delinqtient arid Railroad Taxes. — It is
held that the commission of two per cent, prescribed by section
45, applies to all special district taxes, including delinquent and
railroad taxes. I am not aware of any exception in the case of
railroad taxes, nor that there is any late change in relation to the
fees of county treasurers, except in the act approved February
16, 1865, which however only applies to revenue assessed for
county purposes, and to certain designated counties.

29. Foreign Languages in the Public Schools. — It was the
object of the legislature, in the last clause of the 50th section of
the act, to allow the introduction into the public schools of the
state, of additional and higher branches of study than those
enumerated in the former part of said section, when the circum-
stances of a district and the best interest of the schools should
seem, in the judgment ot the directors, to authorize it. It was
especially contemplated by said clause to allow the establishment
of high schools as a part of the public school system of the state.
In conformity with that permissive clause, the higher branches
of learning are taught in many of the public schools of the
state, and with the best results.- But there is nothing in the
provisions of the 50th section, or any other part of the act, that
will warrant or justify the establishment or maintenance, at the
public expense, of any other than English schools ,' by which
term, as used in the law, is meant such schools only as have for
their object the teaching of various branches of an English edu-
cation, and in which the common medium of communication is
the English language. The teaching of higher branches, such as
languages and mathematics, is incidental and collateral, and must
not be allowed to divert any public school from the great purpose
contemplated by the legislature in the establishment of the sys-
tem. Accordingly, the German, French, or other foreign
language, may be taught in the public schools, when deemed
expedient, and when the teaching thereof will not crowd out or
interfere with the branches specifically required by law. But in
the teaching of such foreign languages the medium of communica-



222 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH



tion must in all cases be the English language — ^the schools in which
such foreign language may be taught must constantly retain the
distinctive character of English schools. In other words, Ger-
man may be taught in a public school, the same as Latin or
algebra, if circumstances will justify ; but in teaching that lan-
guage, or any other, the character of the school as an English
school must not be changed — the common medium of communi-
cation in the school must continue to be the English .language.
The teaching of Grerman, in the manner jperinitted hy the act, does
not make the school a German school, any more than the teach-
ing of the classics, as contemplated by law, changes the character
of the school from an Enghsh school to a Latin or a Greek school.
If the common medium of communication be changed from the
English language to the German, or other foreign language,
such school ceases to be conducted according to law, and, by the
express terms of the act, is no longer entitled to the public funds.
Such a thing as a German school, or a French school, properly
so called, is utterly unknown to the common school laws of this
state. The language of the statute is, " everj^ school established
under the provisions of this act shall be for the purpose of
instruction in the various branches of an English education; and
no school funds shall be appropriated under this act for any
other class or description of schools.''^ This is explicit and per-
emptory, and must govern in all cases where it is not superseded
by special acts of different import. The schools established must
be such as the law requkes, or they cannot have the benefit of
the public funds. If the directors use the public funds for any
other description of schools, they ai'e personally liable. The
intention of the law is clear not. only from the 50th section, from
which I have quoted, but also from many other parts of the act,
especially the forms of teachers' and directors' certificates, in
section 53, etc. It follows from the foregoing view, that the
practice of keeping an English school during one part of the day,
and a German school the other part — or of maintaining an En-
glish school during certain months of the year, and a German
school during certain other months, and allowing all to share
alike in the use and benefit of the public funds, is contrary to
law and must be discontinued. The one great and wise purpose
of the legislature in these provisions is, not to undervalue or
discourage the teaching of the German language, (a knowledge



OEFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 223

of which has come to be almost indispensable in this country ),
but to bring to bear the powerful influence of our public school
system in familiarizing all classes and nationalities of our people
with the vernacular tongue, as the national language of the
republic. {See Bemarhs on page 95, ante.)

30. School Officers and Road Taxes. — The term, "working
on the roads," as used in section 72 of the school law, includes
all assessments on school officers of road labor., and all taxes in
money levied in lieu of labor. But all other road taxes levied
must be paid by school officers, the same as by other persons.



CALENDAR OF SCHOOL ELECTIONS AND DUTIES.

1. State Superintendent of Public Instruction — Tuesday after first Monday of No-
vember, A. D. 1866, and quadrennially thereafter.

2. County Superintendents of Schools — Tuesday after first Monday in November,
1865, and quadrennially thereafter.

3. Trustees of Schools — One annually, on first Monday in October.
4:. School Directors — One annually, on first Monday of August.

5. Beport of State Superintendent to Governor — December 15, biennially.

6. County Superintendent's Beport to State Superintendent — Second Monday of
November, annually.

7. Begular Meetings of Trustees — First Mondays of April and October.

8. Beport of Trustees to County Superintendent — Second Monday of October,

annually.

9. Beturn of Directors'' Tax Certificate to Township Treasurer — First Monday of

September, annually.

10. Beturn of same by Township Treasurer to Cleric of County Court — Second Mon-
day of September, annually.

11. Payment of District Tax Funds by Collector to Township Treasurer — First of
April, annually.

12. Delivery of Schedules to Directors — As soon as completed.

13. Beturn of Schedules \to Township Treasurer by Directors — On or before the
Saturday preceding the first Monday in Api-il and October.

14. Statement of Township Treasurer to Board of Trustees — First Mondays of April
and October.

15. Settlement of Township Treasurers with Boards of Directors — First Mondays of
April and October.

16. Payment of Auditor's Warrant by Collector— On or before the first day of
March, annually.

17. Beports of Clerics of Courts of Becord, and Justices of the Peace, to County
Superintendents — On or before the first of March, annually.

18. School Tear —Commences October 1 ; ends September SO.

19. New School Law took effect February 16, 1865. ,



rOEMS OF SCHOOL I^STRUMEI!^TS.



By general request I subjoin suggestive Forms of the principal
instruments required by the school law, which, it is beheved,
will be found convenient and useful, and contribute toward
greater uniformity and correctness in the transaction of ^financial
and general school business. Those instruments upon which the
safety of the public funds depends, such as bonds, mortgages, notes,
etc., are drawn with particular care and fullness, and are believed
to be all that is recjuired by existing statutes. Some of them are
lengthy, and technical, but not too much so to guard against the
various pleas and defences that may be set up by persons seek-
ing to evade their obligations. It is some trouble, to be sure, to
school oflBcers, to prepare papers of such length and formality,
but much less than it would be to prosecute or defend a suit
upon insufficient or carelessly drawn instruments. A few lines,
more or less, may save the school fund, or prevent a lawsuit.
"Form is not law, but law is form," and due attention to this
maxim is the easiest way to secure the prompt payment of money
due, and the faithful performance of duties imposed and obhga-
tions incurred. In the instruments of a different character,
Y^^here technical fullness and exactness of statement are not essen-
tial, the greatest conciseness and brevity have been sought for.
I need not say that the literal use of these Forms, or any of
them, or of any particular set of Forms, is not esseritial to the
validity of a school instrument, or of any other instrument, unless
the statute prescribes and requires some specific Form. Any
Form may be used, which is not contrary to law, and which clearly
expresses the intention of the parties. In this sense, the annexed
Forms are only advisory. But as they are all believed to be
good and sufiicient, their use is recommended, unless heiter ones
are substituted. The Forms are arranged in the same order as
the decisions, beginning with those pertaining to county superin-
tendeuts, and continuing through the successive gradations of offi-



FORMS OF SCHOOL INSTEUMENTS. 225

cers ; while, for convenience of reference, they are nnmbered con-
secutively to the end. In some of the instruments, many blanks
are necessarily left to be filled, to meet the varying circumstances
of each case — in others, but little is left to be supplied. The
course proper to be pursued is sufficiently indicated in all cases.
Especial care is recommended in calling and conducting school
elections, whether to vote for officers, or on questions of school
policy. In all such meetings, the prescribed formalities should
be carefully observed, and the returns promptly made. The
books of every township and district should also show a record of
the proceedings and results of every school election.



1. RECEIPT TO COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT.

$ Illinois, 18...

Received of , county superintendent of. county and state of

Illinois, the sum of xoo dollars, this being the amount due from

said county superintendent to township No , range , in said county.

Township Treasurer.



2. NOTE TO COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT.

$ 18

after date, for value received we jointly and severally promise to

pay to , county superintendent of county, and to his succes-
sors in office, for the use of the inhabitants of said county, the sum of

dollars, and interest thereon, at the rate of. per cent, per annum, from date


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Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 24 of 26)