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many difficulties have resulted from deferring the adjustment of
such accounts from year to year, and then setting up a claim to
a distributive share of the funds and property. The records of
this office show this to have been a prolific source of misunder-
standing and trouble. In some instances parties have presented
their claims more than seven years subsequent to the formation
of the new district. Happily this class of difficulties will be
avoided in future ; parties must prefer their claims within three
months, or be barred by law. These new provisions are pros-
pective, of course, and not retroactive in their operations ; but I
cannot too earnestly urge the immediate adjustment of all out-
standing claims of this character.

In respect to the appraisal of school property, if the parties are
satisfied to leave it to the board or boards of trustee& concerned,
there can be no objection ; but, if not, it is suggested that it be
left to a board of arbitrators, one to be selected by each of the
districts interested, and they two to select the third. The appor-
tionment of the appraised value is to be in proportion to the
amount of taxable property in each district concerned, which
amount can be readily ascertained from the books of the assessor.
It can hardly be necessary to point out in detail the method of
procedure in such apportionment, but a simple illustration may



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. '71

not be amiss. If two districts are formed from one, and the
amount of taxable property remaining in the districts so formed
is $10,000 and $15,000 respectively, and the appraised value of
ithe school house is $500, then the distributive share of the former
is $200, and of the latter $300, and in the same manner for any
other case. Let it be particularly noticed that as soon as the
property is appraised and apportioned as aforesaid, it is the duty
of the treasurer to charge the district retaining the school house
with the amount due the other district, and to credit the latter
with the same. If the district retaining the school house has not
the means of paying over what is due the other district the di-
rectors must take prompt measures to discharge their indebted-
ness, by a tax or otherwise. Any new district, may of course,'
waive its claim to a distributive share of the common funds and
property, but if not, and a claim is made, it must be promptly
granted and satisHed as prescribed by law.

The case of the consolidation of two or more districts into one
requires no explanation ; the new district so formed is sole owner
of the corporate property and funds of the several districts so
united.

EEMAEKS ON SECTION 31, AS AMENDED.

It will be seen that no material change has been made in this
section. The rule of distribution of funds remains the same, viz:
one-half in proportion to the number in each district under twen-
ty-one years of age, and the other half in proportion to the grand
total number of days' attendance certified in the schedules. A
different principle of distribution would doubtless be more equit-
able in some instances, but it is thought that no general rule
would be upon the whole more equitable in its operation, or bet-
ter subserve the two-fold purpose of protecting the weaker dis-
tricts, and furnishing the necessary stimulus to a full attendance.
The language of this section is much improved by the amend-
ment, being more perspicuous, and omitting some sentences that
were either superfluous or of doubtful meaning. It is not seen,
for instance, why the townshi]3 trustees should be required, as the
old law provided, to direct the treasurer to pay over the district
tax money on the order of the directors of the proper districts,
since district taxes do not come into the hands or nnder the su-
pervision or control of the trustees in any manner whatever ; and



72 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLIN"OIS, WITH

since township treasurers are expressly required by other sections
of the act to pay out all such funds when collected, on the orders
of the boards of directors, by whom they were respectively levied.
The trustees are only concerned with the distribution of other
funds, upon the basis prescribed in this section, and they are fur-
ther requu'ed to see that each district is properly credited on the
books of the treasurer with the amount so apportioned. When
this is done the transaction is complete ; the directors of each dis-
trict so credited can ch-aw on the treasurer for said amount or any
part thereof at any time, and all such orders, when legally drawn,
must be promptly honored by the treasurer. Further instruc-
tions on this subject will be found in the subsequent portion of
this work.

EEMAEKS ON SECTION 35, AS A3IENDED.

This section is amended in several important particulars —

1. While the rule of transfer remains, the permits are to be
filed with the township treasurer, instead of the teacher as here-
tofore, and such permits are made to constitute the only conclu-
sive evidence of consent. There is an obvious propriety in this
change, since the township treasurer, having to pass upon the
correctness of the schedules, is the proper repository of the official
evidence of the regularity of transfers. The permits should be
carefully filed and preserved by the treasurer for reference, and
all parties concerned will take due notice that the schedules can-
not hereafter be accepted as evidence of consent, in the absence of
written objection, as was heretofore allowed. The obtaining of
the necessary permits can occasion but little trouble, and they
are essential to the protection of both districts. If the advant-
ages of the transfer are not deemed sufficient to balance the little
time and care necessary to comply with the requirements of the
law, parents cannot complain if their children are excluded. The .
teacher should, in all cases, be satisfied that a pupil from another
district has been regularly transferred, before enrolling him as a
member of school ; this precaution may save Mm much subsequent
trouble.

2. There was much ambiguity in this section prior to its
amendment, in respect to the amount proper to be certified in
each schedule, as due the teacher. Treasurers were instructed
to pay the amount certified, while no rule was given by which



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. TS

that amount was to be computed, leaving directors and treasm'ers
at no small loss how to proceed in the premises, (so far at least
as the law was concerned,) and opening the door for actual injus-
tice and wrong, should the parties be disposed to avail themselves
of it. All doubt upon this point is removed by the amendment,
which declares that the amount certified in each separate sched-
ule to be due shall be computed upon the basis of the total num-
ber of days' attendance of all the schedules. Thus, if a school is
com|)osed of scholars from three different districts, and the total
days' attendance of each district is 300, 400 and 500 respectively,
and the whole amount due the teacher is $120, then the amounts
to be certified in the separate schedules are $30, $40 and $50 re-
spectively.

3. The forms to be observed in the delivery and payment of
the schedu.les are made exceedingly plain by this amendment.
The different districts sending to the school are either in the same
township in which the school is taught or in different townships ;
if they are in the same. township, the schedules, when completed,
are delivered to the township treasurer, who pays the teacher the
several amounts certified in said schedules to be due, crediting
the district in which the school was taught, and charging the
other districts with the amounts severally certified in their respec-
tive schedules. But if pupils attend from a district of another
township, the schedule is to be delivered to the directors of said
district, taking their order upon the treasurer for the amount cer-
tified to be due ; which order will be paid by the treasurer of the
other township upon its presentation. In fact the language used
in these amendments defines the course to be pursued with such
clearness and precision that comment is scarcely necessary.

4, Perhaps no portion of the old law has been more variously
interpreted, or occasioned more perplexity than that part of the
thirty-fifth section which related to the manner of forming union
districts. Especial difiiculty was experienced as to the status of
the separate boards of directors after the act of consolidation.
All ambiguity is removed by the amendment, and the mode of
procedure is simple, clear and explicit. Whenever the directors
of two or more school districts are of opinion that the interests of
their respective districts will be promoted by consolidation, it is
only necessary that the proposition to consolidate should be ap-
proved or concurred in by a majority of each of said boards of di-



Ti SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLIlSrOIS, WITH

rectors. The proposal may be considered and adopted by eacli |!
board separately, or in joint session, as they may elect. Iso dis-
trict can be included in the act of consolidation witboLit the con-
sent of at least two of the directors thereof. After the measure
is agreed to, the directors of the concnrriiig districts will meet in
joint session and appoint the union directors. The mode of ap'
poiutment is not stated in the law, nor is it material. It may be
by nomination and vote, or in any other fair and equitable man-
ner. The new directors may be taken from the members of the
old boards, or not, as may be deemed best; but they should in
all cases, if practicable, be taken from different parts of the union
district, and not all from one part. "When the union directors
are chosen and appointed, it only remains for the old directors to
draw up and sign the of&cial instrument by which the transac-
tion is consummated ; which may be in the following form, viz :

"We the undersigned, school directors of district Xo. , and jSTo. , ia

township No. , range jS'o. , in county, and state of Illinois, do

hereby certify, that in pursuance of the authority Tested in us by the 35th sec-
tion of the school laTV of this state, as amended .and apjjroved February 16,
1865, we have this day united and consolidated the above named districts, and
formed therefrom a new district, under the name and style of ' Union District

IS'o. , township Xo. , range Xo. ,' of said county and state ; and

we do further certify, that in accordance with the authority aforesaid, we hare

also appointed , and , and , as the iirst board of directors

of said 'Union District Xo. , township Xo. , range Xo. ,' and that

said , and , and , having been severally notified of their

said appointment, and having duly accepted the same, the separate boards of
directors of districts Xo. and Xo. aforesaid, are hereby declared dis-
solved. Given under our hands this day of , A. D. 186 — .

p' n' (Directors of District

^;?;;jxo.-, t. -, r. -.

-r ■-[-■' I Directors of District

^_J;;jXo.-, T._ R.-."

Upon the delivery of the foregoing certificate, (or one of the
same tenor,) to the township trustees of the proper township or
townships, the transaction will be legally consummated, and the .
union district fully and lawfully constituted.

Immediately upon the receipt of the proceedings and certificate
of the constituent boards of directors as aforesaid, it will be the
duty of the township board or board of trustees, through their
treasurer, to change the map of their townshij? or townships, in
conformity with said proceedings, and to file the same with the
clerk of their county court, and thereafter the district so formed
win be known and recognized, under the name and style given to



OFFICIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 75

it in said official proceedings, the same as other districts are known
and recognized ; and said district will be entitled to all the rights
and privileges, of every description, enjoyed by other districts.
The directors, chosen and appointed as aforesaid, will, at their
first meeting as such, draw lots for their respective terms of office
for one, two and three years, and will thereafter be elected as pro-
vided by law in the case of other directors.

It will be observed that districts may be formed by consolida-
tion, under the provisions of this section, at any time • whereas
all new districts established by order of township trustees must
be formed at some regular session of said board of trustees ; and
it will be further observed that the formation of such districts,
provided the forms of law are complied with, is entirely
independent of the township trustees, the latter having no
right or authority to interfere with, or refuse their sanction to
the legal acts of the constituent boards of directors, in the for-
mation of such districts ; their rights and duties in the case being
confined to changing the map of their township, or causing the
same to be done, and filing said new map with the county clerk.

The provisions of this section, it will be noticed, are, in a sense,
supplementary to those of the thirty-third section, authorizing
changes in school districts to be made in certain cases by the
directors instead of the trustees, thereby meeting exigencies which
may arise, where desirable changes could not be eff"ected through
the regular channels prescribed in section thirty-three. The di-
rector drawing the shortest, or one-year term, will, in all cases,
retire at the regular annual election of directors next succeeding
the time of the formation of the union district. If, for example,
a union board should be appointed in May of any year, the term
of service of the member drawing for one year will expire at the
following August election, when a new director will be elected
for the full three years' term.

EEMAflKS ON AMENDMENT TO SECTION 36.

It is the intention of the addition to this section to hold town-
ship officers to the same responsibility, in respect to the return of
statistical reports, as is imposed upon county superintendents,
and to secure this end it is provided that neglect or failure to
furnish such reports, in the manner and within the time required
by law, shall work the forfeiture of the public school fund for the



(t) SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

next ensuing year. The considerations presented in the remarks, I j
under the seventeenth section of the act are equally applicable in
this case, and need not be repeated. The amendment, as in the
other case, is highly penal in its provisions, but there need not be,
and 1 trust will not be, any occasion to enforce them. It devolves
upon county superintendents to see that the requirements of this
amendment are complied with, and to withhold the funds in case
of refusal, or willful neglect, on the part of township trustees and
treasurers to discharge the plain duty required of them by law.
The state superintendent is authorized to remit the forfeiture, as
in the seventeenth section, upon being satisfied that the chcum-
stances are such as to entitle the parties thereto.

KEMAEKS ON AMENDMENT TO SECTION 39. |

The last period of section thirty-nine, which relates to the con-
solidation and division of districts, and to the distribution and
adjustment of the funds and property, is stricken out, because
the provisions of said period are incorporated into section thirty-
three, as amended, where they properly belong, ISTo other change
is made in this section. All of those provisions of the law which
pertain to the formation, alteration, division and consolidation of
school districts, (except as regards the formation of union dis-
tricts,) are brought together by this amendment into one section,
(33d,) instead of being dispersed through the act ; an arrange-
ment that will greatly contribute to the convenience of reference.

EEMAEKS ON AMENDMENT TO SECTION 42.

The amendment to this section consists in the addition ol pro-
visions similar to those attached to the twenty-fifth section, and
with the same end in view, viz : to guard against the conse-
quences of the neglect or refusal of the proper officers to take
the necessary steps to order regular or special elections. The
same evils, that rendered such legislation necessary in the case
of township trustees, had existed in respect to the election of
school directors. ^Notwithstanding the law requires the imme-
diate filling of all vacancies in district boards, whether caused by
resignation, removal, or expiration of term of service, it is well
known that this, in many cases, has not been done, and that va-
cancies have remained long unfilled, to the great detriment of the
schools.



OFFICIAL AOT3 JUDICIAL DECISIONS.



17



Under this section, prior to the amendment, notices of all sta-
ted elections were required to be given by the directors, and of
all special elections to fill vacancies, by the remaining director or
directors ; hence, if they failed or refused to act in the premises,
there was no other mode by which such elections could be legally
ordered. Hereafter, if notices of any regular or special election
are not given by the directors at the time required by law, the
duty of ordering such elections will devolve first upon township
treasurers, and upon their failure or refusal, then upon county
superintendents. If no election for directors is held on the first
Monday of August, the township treasurer must, within ten days,
order such election ; and if, at the expiration of said ten days,
such order is not issued by the township treasurer, the county
superintendent must, within the next ten days, order such elec-
tion. The township treasurer or county superintendent may pro-
ceed to order district elections as provided by this amendment,
upon the written information and request of any legal voter of
any district in which default of holding such election has been
made. All elections of directors must be held on some Monday.
The directions above given, apply also to the ordering of elec-
tions to fill vacancies, i. e. when a vacancy occurs from whatever
cause, the remaining director or directors are required to order
an election immediately to fill such vacancies. Upon their fail-
ure to do so, the township treasurer must give such order within
ten days from the occurrence of such vacancy, and upon his de-
fault, such order must be issued by the county superintendent
within the next ten days, as aforesaid, upon due information and
request as before mentioned. It is believed that this important
point is now as effectually guarded as it can be by legislation, and
that district elections cannot hereafter go by default, nor vacan-
cies remain long unfilled, except by the most unpardonable in-
diflerence and neglect upon the part of the citizens of the respec-
tive districts.

KEMAEKS ON SECTION 44r, AS AMENDED.

County clerks have heretofore been subjected to much unneces-
sary labor and inconvenience, in consequence of having to deal
with each separate board of directors of the county, instead of
with the township treasurers only, as is provided by this amend-
ment. It is plain that the township treasurer is the proper person



78 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

to whom sucli certificates should be delivered by directors. He
stands at the head of the financial affairs of his township, and is J;
the proper oflicer to whom the local district oflScers should report.ft
He is, moreover, more accessible, and better acquainted with the
condition and circumstances of each district, than the county
clerk, and can more reliably correct any errors in the estimates
and certificates of the directors. jSTot only the convenience oi
county clerks, but that also of the directors, as well as the cer-
tainty and reliability of the estimates and hsts of resident tax-
payers, will be greatly promoted by the changes made in this
section of the law. The certificates of the directors, with lists of
resident tax-payers, must be delivered to the township treasurer
on or before the first Monday of September ; and said certificates
and lists, after being carefully examined, and all errors, if any,
duly corrected, must be dehvered by the township treasurer to
the county clerk on or before the second Monday of September.
School directors must be punctual to the time fixed by law, if
they expect their estimates to be received. The township trea-
surer may reject any returns made to him after the first Monday
of September, just as the county clerk must decline to receive any
estimates delivered to him after the second Monday in Septem-
ber. The amendment allows each township treasurer one week
in which to examine, compare and correct the returns made to
him, and deliver the same to the county clerk.

This time is sufiicient, if directors are punctual. The township
treasurer must not be expected to incur the risk of faihng to make
timely returns to the county clerk by waiting beyond the time
fixed by law, for the accommodation of tardy or careless directors.
They must see to it that no district loses the benefit of its annual
special tax through any fault or remissness on their part. In
order that county clerks may be furnished with the latest rehable
data upon which to extend district taxes, the amendment further
provides that whenever changes shall have been made in the
boundaries of districts subsequent to the last preceding annual
levy and extension of such taxes, it shall be the duty of township
treasurers to prepare and return to the county clerk, with the
certificates and lists aforesaid, new maps of their townships, de-
fining and showing such changes of district boundaries. This is
a matter of great importance, for county clerks are governed by
the last ofiicial township maps on file in their respective ofiices,



OEIFCIAL AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS. 79

and cannot be expected to take cognizance of changes wliicli have
never been reported to them.

Township treasurers are enjoined to a careful compliance with
the provision requiring lists of resident tax-payers to be alphahet-
ically arranged. This can easily be effected on their part, and
is of the utmost convenience to county clerks, whose duties, in
connexion with district taxes, are very onerous, and every prac-
ticable facility should be afforded them in the discharge of their
duties, by district and township officers. It is believed that the
amendments to this section will prove among the most acceptable
and salutary of any embraced in the amendatory act.

REMARKS ON SECTION 47, AS AMENDED.

This section is amended in three particulars —

1. The first three periods of the section, as it formerly stood,
are stricken out, said periods, (which relate exclusively to the
mode of proceeding with certificates of taxation and lists of tax-
payers in the case of districts lying partly in two or more coun-
ties,) having been transferred to, and incorporated with the forty-
fourth section of the act, as amended, where they more properly
belong.

2. By the amendment the sum that may be borrowed in any
one year by the directors, upon a vote of the people, for purposes
specified in this section, is increased from three per cent, to five
per cent, of the taxable property of the district.

3. In like manner the amount of tax that may be levied in
any one year for said purposes is increased from two per cent.
to three per cent, of said taxable property. It is presumed that
the exigency will rarely arise when it will be deemed expedient
to borrow and levy respectively in any one year the maximum
amounts authorized by the amendment; but, as circumstances
may occur when it will be desirable to do so, the legislature has
wisely conferred the necessary authority. The check is that

\ neither the amount specified in this section, nor any sum at all,
j can be either borrowed or levied witliont a vote of the people
I first obtained. Experience shows that interests of this nature may
be safely left with the tax-payers, at least so far as any danger of
inordinately large levies are concerned; the difiiculty, if any, usu-
ally lying in the opposite direction. The people, as a rule, are
prudent and conservative, and little disposed to indiscreet or ex-



80 SCHOOL LAWS OF ILLINOIS, WITH

travagant expenditures. On tlie other hand, it would seem to be
in strict accordance with the theory and spirit of our institutions
and laws, and of the principle of self-government, that where a
community choses voluntarily to make -sacrifices for their children,
and for the pubhc good, and, of their free will to impose upon
themselves burdens of taxation, even though excessive, they



Online Librarystatutes Illinois. LawsSchool laws of Illinois → online text (page 9 of 26)