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of any money which should be relinquished by any bank, or withdrawn by the loan commissioners from any bank, to any town or city applying for the same, said town or city giving bonds to pay interest, at the rate of five per cent, and to employ the money so received to the purposes of education exclusively. The amount loaned to any town or city was restricted to the ratio of population of such town or city to the whole sum on deposit from the United States. At this session a thorough revision of all the legislation of the state since 1828, was made and embodied in an act under the following title :
AN ACT to revise and amend the several Acts relating to Public Schools. Be it enacted by the General Assembly as follows :
Section 1. The annual income of the money deposited or that may be deposited with this state by the United States in pursuance of "an act to regulate the deposite of the public money,” passed by the Congress of the United States, and approved June 23, 1836, shall annually be paid over to the several towns in this state; to be appropriated for the purpose of 'maintaining public schools, in manner hereina!ler provided.
Sec. 2. To the money derived from said source, shall annually be added enough from any money in the General Treasury not otherwise specially appropiated, to make up the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, to be annually paid out for the purpose aforesaid. The money received by the state from the managers of lotteries or their agents, or from auctioneers for auction duties accruing to the state, shall be hereafter annually appropriated, to pay the debt now due from the General Treasury to the permanent school fund, until said debt is paid; after which time the revenue derived from those sources shall be applied to the increase of said fund. The money paid out by virtue of this act, shall be divided among the several towns in proportion to the respective while population of each town under the age of fifteen years; the colored population of such town under the age of ten years, and fivefourteenths of the colored population between the ages of ten and twenty-four years; computing the same according to the United States census next preceding such annual payments, and excepting Narragansett Indians in all cases.
Sec. 3. Each town may raise by iax every year so much money as a majority of the freemen may deem proper, to be appropriated to the purpose of keeping public schools, not exceeding in any one year double the amount received by such lown from the general treasury: provided that notice be inserted in the warrant issued for calling the town meeting, that such business will then be acted upon.
Sec. 4. The money received by each town from the General Treasury, shall be applied to pay for instruction, and not for room rent, fuel, or any other purpose whatever.
Sec. 5. The General Treasurer shall keep a separate account of all moneys paid to the state by lottery managers, or their agents, or auctioneers as aforesaid, and shall report the same to the General Assembly annually, althe May session thereof: particularizing the sums received from each of said sources.
Sec. 6. The school committee of each town shall every year certify to the General Treasurer, that the money received the previous year has been faithfully applied according to this act. No town shall receive its proportion of the next distribution until such certificate be made.
Sec. 7. The money payable by virtue of this act, shall be paid to the order of the town treasurers of the several lowns which shall comply with the terms of this act, on or after the first day of June in every year; and ihe said town treasurers shall apply for and receive said money from the General Treasurer, as soon after it is payable, as it may be required for school purposes in their respective towns; and shall charge and receive no compensation for iheir services in collecting the same.
Sec. 8. Each town shall, at its annual town meeting for the choice of town officers, appoint a school committee, to consist of not less than five, nor more than thirty persons resident in such town, to act without compensation; and to be engaged to ihe faithful discharge of their duties before entering upon the same.
Sec. 9. The school committees shall appoint a president or chairman and sccre
tary from their nuinber, and shall keep a record of all their proceedings: they shall meet at least as often as once in every three months, and a majority of the whole number chosen shall constitute a quorum; but any less number may adjourn a mecting, giving reasonable notice of the lime and place of the adjourned meeting:
Sec. 10. The school committee of each town may direct the books to be used, and make all necessary rules and regulations for the good government of the public schools therein: they may suspend or expel any scholar for misconduct; they shall determine the places where the school-houses shall be located, or the school kepe, in the different districts, having regard to the accommodation of the greatest number of inhabitants; and for satisfactory reasons may alter the location of any schoolhouse; and in case of the death, resignation, or removal of a member of the committee, they may fill the vacancy for the remainder of the year:-and at any regular meeting they may make, alter and repeal such by-laws and regulations for the delegating or more conveniently discharging any or all of the duties assigned to them as they shall deem proper:' Provided, they are not repugnant to the provisions of this act, nor in violation of any law in this state.
Sec. 11. The school committee shall appoint all instruc:ors and instructresses, taking care that they be of good moral character, temperate and otherwise well qualified for the office; and may dismiss said instructors or instructresses in case of inability, or misconduct; said committee shall visit all the schools in their respective towns, at least as often as once in three months during their continuance, and shall generally superintend, watch over and provide for the well ordering and guverning the same.
Sec. 1? The school committee shall allow and certify all bills for compensation for mstruction and all other expenses before the same shall be paid by the town treasurer; they shall also at the annual town meeting for choosing town officers, (and oftener if required) render an account of all their doings for the preceding year.
Sec. 13. All divisions of any town into school districts, and all alterations of such divisions, whether made by a town or school committee, shall be recorded in the town clerk's office of such town.
Sec. 14. The school committee of every town shall hold quarterly meetings on the second Mondays of January, April, July and October in every year.
Sec. 15. There shall but one school be kept in any school district, unless the school committee shall otherwise order.
Sec. 16. The school committee of any town, with the assent of the school committee of an adjacent town, may permit such children as will be better accommodated thereby, to attend the school in such adjacent town and may pay, such portion of the expense thereof, as considering the number of children and other circumstances, may be just and proper.
Sec. 17. The money which each town shall receive by virtue of this act, shall be expended among the different schools and school districts, in such proportions as the school committee shall deem most advisable.
Sec. 18. The freemen of any town, may at any legal town meeting, divide their town into suitable school districts, and may from time to time alter the number and limits thereof. All divisions heretofore made by any town or school committee, shall remain in force until legally changed.
Sec. 19. Every school district shall be a body corporate, by such name or de. signation as the school committee shall select, so far as to prosecute and defend in all actions relating io the property or affairs of the district, and to take and hold such real estate as may be given to or purchased by them for the purpose of supporting schools in the district.
Sec. 20. The school committee of the several towns and of the city of Providence, shall on or before the first Wednesday of May, annually, inake official returns to the Secretary of State, of all the public schools in such towns and the city respectively, for the year preceding the date of the returns; the amount of school money received from the General Treasury; the amount of money raised by the town or city for supporting public schools; the number of districts; the number of schools in each district; the amount of money expended in each school, designating the portion paid for furniture, fuel and incidental expenses, and the portion paid for instruction only; the number of children, male and female, altending each school, and their average attendance; the time and season of keeping each school; the number, names and salary of instructors; the branches taught and books used. They shall also the next and subsequent years, report the number of academies and private schools in their respective towns; the length of time and season of the year they are kept; the names of the instructors; prices of tuition; and the average number of scholars attending each of them: Provided however, that the returns aforesaid to be made by the school committee on or before the first Wednesday in May next, shall be conformable to the blank returns already furnislied the several towns under the act of June last.
Sec. 21. The Secretary shall annually furnish every town and the city of Providence, with the blank forms of the returns required by the last section, which forms shall contain a copy of this and said lasi section; and the secretary shall annually at the session of the General Assembly
first holden after the annual session in May, report an abstract of said returns. "No town or city shall be entitled to any part of the money appropriated to be paid out of the general treasury, to the support of public schools, which shall have failed to make snch returns for the year next preceding the time of the appropriation ; and the names of all such delinquent towns or city shall be by the Secretary returned to the General Treasurer, on or before the first Monday in June annually.
Sec. 22. There shall annually be paid out of the General Treasury to the town treasurer of the town of Charlestown, the sum of one hundred dollars, to be expended under the direction of some suitable person to be annually appointed by the governor, in the support of a school for the use of the members of the Narragansell tribe of Indians and the incidental expenses thereof, and in purchasing school books for the use of said school: and an annual account of the appropriationof all said money shall be rendered to the General Treasurer, on or before the first Wednesday of May.
Sec. 23. Two or more contiguous districts in adjoining towns, the majority of the taxable inhabitants of each district, at a duly notified meeting agreeing thereto, may unite together for the purpose of keeping one school, if they may deem it more advantageous to do so; and in such cases the committee men of ihe districts so uniting, may examine and appoint the instructor.
Sec. 24. Whenever any persons to the number of five or more, have associated or shall hereafter associate together for the purpose of building and maintaining a school-house, they shall be entitled to all the privileges of a body corporate, by such name and style as they may select, and upon such iernis and subject to such regu. lations as they may have adopted upon the formation of their association; and may hold, control and convey, by their corporate name, the school-house so erected, and the lot of land upon which it may stand; and the shares or ownership therein, may be transferred in the same manner as personal estate.
Sec. 25. Whenever any persons to the number of five or more, have associated or shall hereafter associate together, for the purpose of procuring and maintaining a library, they shall be entitled to all the privileges of a body corporate, by such name as they may designate, and upon such terms and subject io such consti. tution and rules as they may have adopted upon the formation of their association; and may hold, control and convey by their corporate name, estate, real and personal, to an amount not exceeding two thousand dollars, exclusive of their books, maps, and library furniture. Provided, that in all such cases, the constitution or articles of association, and all alterations thereof, shall be recorded in the town clerk's office in the town where such library shall be established.
Sec. 26. All general acts heretofore passed relating to public schools, excepting so much of the eighth section of“ an aci to establish public schools,” passed January session, A. D. 1828, which relates to the permanent School Fund, as is not inconsistent with this aci, are hereby repealed. Prorided, that every thing done under said acts shall be valid, and all things omitted or neglected to be done, shall be punished by the same penalties and forfeitures as if this acı had not been passed.
Sec. 27. The Secretary shall immediately cause to be printed a sufficient number of copies of this act and of all laws and acts in force relating to public schools, or the building of school houses in the several towns, and shall send a suitable number to the town clerk of each town, for the purpose of distribution.
The following acts have been passed in addition to, or in amendment of the revised act of 1839.
In 1839, Be it enacted by the General Assembly as follows :-Whenever an amount of money sufficient to pay for fuel, rent and other incidental expenses of public schools shall not be provided by any town by taxation or otherwise, the school committee
of such town shall have power to assess a sum sufficient to pay such expenses, upon those who send scholars to the schools, in such manner as they may deem just ; exempting from the assessment such as they consider unable, or too poor lo pay: and it any person shall neglect to pay such assessment within the time appointed, the school committec may certify' the name of the delinquent, and the sum for which he is deficient, to the assessors of the town, who shall insert the same in the assessment of the next town tax against such person ; and the collector shall collect the same, to be paid over when coliected to the school committee.
In 1810, Bc it enacted, foc,
Section 1. Hereafter one third in number of the school committee of any town shall constitute a quorum for doing business.
Sec. 2. No town shall receive its proportion of the money appropriated for the support of public schools, until the school committee of such town shall have certified to the general treasurer that three-fourths of the money received by the town from the state the past year, and all the money received for the year preceding the last, has been expended according to law.
Sec. 3. The iwenty-fourth and twenty-fifth sections of "an act to revive and amend the several acis relating to public schools,” shall be deemed subject to be altered or repealed, at the pleasure of the General Assembly:
Sec. 4. In addition to the relurns now required by law, the Secretary may, from time to time, require such other information as he may deem necessary:
Sec. 5. In the city of Providence the school committee shall be elected by the city council at the commencement of the municipal year, and shall report to them whenever required. The school committee in said city shall have the power of dividing the districts, subject to revision by the city council.
Section 6 alters the word shull, first occurring in section 19 of revised act, to may; and section 7 increases the number of persons having charge of the Indian school to three.
In 1840, Be it enacled, 4c
Sec. 1. No child under the age of twelve years shall be employed to work in any manufacturing establishment in this state, unless such child shall have attended, at least three months of the twelve months next preceding such employment, some public or private day school, where instruction is given in orthography, reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Sec. 2. If the owner or owners, agent, or superintendent of any manufacturing establishment, shall employ any child in such establishment, conirary to the provisions of this act, he, she, or they, shall forfeit the sam of fifiy dollars for each offense; to be recovered by indictment, to the use of the public schools in the town or city where said establishment may be situated.
Sec. 3. A certificate signed andsworn to by the instructor of the school where any child may have attended, that such child has received the instruction herein intended to be secured, shall be deemed and taken to be sufficient evidence of that fact, in all cases arising under this act.
Séc. 4. This act shall take effect from and after the first day of January, A. D. 1841.
Be il enacted by the General Assembly as follows: The school committee of each town may annually appropriate out of ihe public school money distributed to each school district, the sum of ten dollars, for the purpose of establishing and maintain. ing a district school library, for the use of the children therein; under such rules and regulations as said committee may prescribe. In 1841, Beil enacted by the General Assembly, as follows: Sec. 1. If any person shall wilfully interrupt or disturb any public or private school, or any meeting lawfully and peaceably held for purposes of literary or scientific improvement, either within or without the place where such school or meeting is held, the person so offending, upon conviction before any competent magistrate or couri, shall incur the penalties atfixed to the interruption or disturbance of religious worship in chapter 6, section 9 of the revised criminal code, enacted at the January session, 1838.
Sec. 2. The president or chairman of the school committee, having been sworn or affirmed by a competent magistrate to the faithful discharge of his duties, may administer the same oath or affirmation to the other members.
Sec. 3 and 4, modifies the sections 14 and 23, in reference to the city of Provi. dence.
In 1842, Be it enatled by the General Assembly as /ollows:
Sec. I. The public school committees of the several towns shall ascertain by their personal examination, or that of a committee to be appointed by them, the qualifications and capacity for the government of schools, of all instructors who may be employed in the public schools in their respective towns.
Sec 2. No person shall be hereafier employed as an instructor in any public school, unless before he opens such school, his qualifications and capacity shall be ascertained as is provided in the preceding section ; and he shall obtain from the committee of examination, a certiticate that he is qualified 10 teach such school. Provided however, that this aot shall not extend to ihe city of Providence, nor to the towns of North Providence and Smithfield.
In addition to these general laws, twelve acts and resolutions of a special and local nature were passed subsequent to 1839.
At the October session, in 1843, Wilkins Updike, Esq. a member of the House of Representatives, from South Kingstown, introduced a bill for a public act,
public act," for ascertaining the condition of the public schools in this state, and for the improvement and better management thereof.” In the remarks with which he accompanied the reading of the bill, Mr. Updike maintained that the free school system as it then existed, was not a blessing to the state, except in the city of Providence, and possibly in a few other towns, where a similar course was pursued. This was not owing to the want of liberal appropriation from the General Treasury. This was large enough, or at least, was larger than was made by any other state to the several towns. But the difficulty lay with the towns, and with the want of any thorough system for the examination of teachers, the regulation of books, and supervision of schools, by offi. cers qualified to discharge these duties. Our teachers come from abroad, are employed without producing evidence either of moral character, or their fitness to teach, remain in the schools two or three months, and within twenty-four hours of the close of the term are gone to parts unknown. The books for our schools are selected by authors and publishers, or itinerant venders, and all that parents have to do about the mat. ter is to get new books every year, and pay the bills. As to visiting the schools, who ever heard of committees going about into the different districts, or of parents being seen in the school. room? These things should be looked into. The Legislature should know what becomes of the sum of $25,000, which is drawn annually from the General Treasury. The people should have their attention called to the actual state of education among us. Our self-respect should be roused by a know. ledge of the fact brought out by the last census of the United States, from which it appears that Rhode Island is behind the other New England States, in this matter. With a population of 108,830, we have over 1,600 adults who cannot read or write, while Connecticut with a population of 309,978, has only 526. The other New England States not only educate their own teachers, lawyers, doctors and clergymen, but help