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tion, its liberal appropriations, and its beneficent results. As all that this act aims to do for other towns in the state, is amply provided for in the school system of Providence, and any îhing which should unexpectedly check the progress, or disturb the operation of this system would be a detriment to the cause of education in the state, it is left untouched.
Ş XXXI. Any person conceiving himself aggrieved in consequence of any decision made by any school district meeting, or by the trustees of any district, or the committee of any town, or by a county inspector, or concerning any other matter arising under this Act, may appeal to the Commissioner of Public Schools, who is hereby authorized and required to examine and decide the same: and the decision of said Commissioner, when approved by any Judge of the Supreme Court, shall be final and conclusive.
Remarks. The liberty of appeal here given in the incipient stages of any controversy arising among the inhabitants, teachers and officers of any district or town, to a tribunal which ought to be abundantly competent to decide finally all matters growing out of the operation of laws relating to public schools, without cost or delay to the parties, will harmonize many conflicting interests and differences of opinion before they have ripened into bitter neighborhood feuds, and protracted and expensive litigation.
This feature is taken from the New-York school system, where it has been productive of very beneficial results, and been the means of dispensing equal, exact, cheap and speedy justice, by the adjustment of various differences incident to the working of a system comprehending so great a diversity of interests.
§ XXXII. All general acts and resolutions heretofore passed relating to public schools, and all acts authorizing particular towns and districts to build school-houses, and perform other duties now provided for in the preceding sections, are hereby repealed.
Provided, That all acts and resolutions relating to the public schools in the city of Providence, and the town of Newport, are hereby continued in force.
Provided further, That all rights vested in any person or persons by virtue pf any of the acts hereby repealed, shall remain unimpaired and unaltered by this act; and that all matters commenced by virtue of any of the laws aforesaid now depending or unfinished, may be prosecuted and pursued to final effect, in the same manner as they might have been, if this act had not been passed.
$ XXXIII. This Act shall not take effect till after the next session of the General Assembly, and in the mean time the existing laws relative to public schools shall continue in force.
Such are the various provisions of an act intended to preserve not only the frame work of the system of public schools now in operation in this state, but most of its details; and from the remarks which accompany such of its features as are novel, or likely to be misunderstood, it will be evident, that only such new elements are introduced as experience has proved to be necessary to supply acknowledged defects, to aid, invigorate, and sustain what has proved useful, and to secure constantly increasing improvement in public schools and other means of popular education.
Documents referred to in the Report of the Commissioner of Public Schools,
submitted November 1, 1845.
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
PASSED JUNE 27, 1845.
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
I. STATE APPROPRIATION AND SUPERVISION. Section 1—III. Section 1. For the uniform and efficient administration of this Act, and the supervision and improvement of such schools as may be supported in any manner out of appropriations from the General Treasury, the Governor shall appoint an officer, to be called the Commissioner of Public Schools, who shall hold his office one year, and until his successor shall be appointed, with such compensation for his services, and allowance for his expenses, as the General Assembly shall determine.
Sec. II. For the encouragement and maintenance of public schools in the several towns and cities of the State in the manner hereinafter prescribed, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars is hereby annually appropriated, payable out of the annual avails of the School Fund, and of the money deposited with this State by the United States, and other moneys not otherwise specially appropriated; and the General Treasurer is authorized and directed to pay all orders drawn by the Commissioner of Public Schools in pursuance of the provisions of this act, or of resolutions of the General Assembly : Provided, the aggregate amount of such orders in any one year shall not exceed the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars.
Sec. III. The Commissioner of Public Schools is authorized and it is made his duty
1 1. To apportion annually, in the month of May, the money appropriated to public schools, among the several towns of the State, in proportion to the number of children under the age of fifteen years, according to the census taken under the authority of the United States, next preceding the time of making such apportionment. 12. To draw all orders on the General Treasurer, for the payment
of such apportionment in favor of the treasurer of such towns as shall comply with the terms of this act, on or before the 1st of July annually.
T 3. To prepare suitable forms and regulations for making all reports, and conducting all necessary proceedings under this act, and to transmit the same, with such instructions as he shall deem necessary and proper for the uniform and thorough administration of the school system, to the Town Clerk of each town, for distribution among the officers required to execute them.
1.4. To adjust and decide, without appeal and without cost to the parties, all controversies and disputes arising under this act, which may be submitted to him for settlement and decision ; the facts of which cases shall be stated in writing, verified by oath or affirmation if required, and accompanied by certified copies of all necessary minutes, contracts, orders and other documents.
15. To visit as often and as far as practicable, every school district in the State, for the purpose of inspecting the schools, and diffusing as widely as possible by public addresses, and personal communication with school officers, teachers and parents, a knowledge of existing defects, and desirable improvements in the administration of the system, and the government and instruction of the schools.
16. To recommend the best text books, and secure, as far as practicable a uniformity, in the schools of at least every town, and to assist, when called
upon, in the establishment of, and the selection of books for school libraries.
17. To establish Teachers' Institutes, and one thoroughly organized Normal School in the State, where teachers, and such as propose to teach, may become acquainted with the most approved and successful methods of arranging the studies, and conducting the discipline and instruction of public schools.
18. To appoint such and so many inspectors in each county, as he shall, from time to time, deem necessary, to examine all persons offering themselves as candidates for teaching public schools, and to visit, inspect, and report, concerning the public schools, under such instructions as said Commissioner may prescribe ; Provided, that as far as practicable such inspectors shall be experienced teachers, and shall serve without any allowance or compensation from the General Treasury.
19. To grant certificates of qualification to such teachers as have been approved by one or more county inspectors, and shall give satisfactory evidence of their moral character, attainments, and ability to govern and instruct children.
1 10. To enter, or cause to be entered, in proper books to be provided for the purpose in his office, all decisions, letters, orders on the Treasurer, and other acts as Commissioner of Public Schools ; and to submit to the General Assembly at the October session, an annual printed report, containing, together with an account of his own doings,
First, -A statement of the condition of the public schools, and the means of popular education generally in the State;
Second,-Plans and suggestions for their improvement;
Third,-Such other matters relating to the duties of his office, as he may deem useful and proper to communicate.
II. Powers AND DUTIES OF Towns. Section IV-IX. Sec. IV. To provide for the education of all the children residing within their respective limits, the several towns and cities of the state are empowered and it shall be their duty
1 1. To lay off their respective territory into primary school districts, and to alter or abolish the same when necessary; Provided, that unless with the approbation of the Commissioner of Public Schools, no new district shall be formed with less than forty children, over four and under sixteen years of age; and that no existing district, by the formation of a new one, shall be reduced below the same number of like persons ; And that no village or populous district shall be subdivided into two or more districts for the purpose of maintaining a school in each under one teacher, when two or more school of different grades for the younger and older children, can be conveniently established in said district; or
1 2. To establish and maintain, (without forming, or recognizing when formed, districts as above,) a sufficient number of public schools of different grades, at convenient locations, under the entire management and regulation of the school committee hereinafter provided.
3. To raise by tax at the annual meeting, or at any regular meeting called for the purpose, such sums of inoney for the support of public schools, as they shall judge necessary, which tax shall be voted, assessed and collected as other town taxes; Provided, that a sum equal to one third of the amount received from the General Treasury for the support of public schools for the year next preceding, shall be raised, before any town shall be entitled to receive its proportion of the annual State appropriation.
[ 4. To elect by ballot or otherwise, at the annual town meeting, or at a meeting of the town previously designated for this purpose, a school committee, to consist of three, six, nine or twelve persons resident in such town, as the town shall determine at the first meeting held for the choice of said committee after the passage of this act.
Sec. V. The School committees of the several towns, when qualified by oath or affirmation to the faithful discharge of their duties, are au- . thorized and it shall be their duty
11. To elect a chairman, and in his absence or inability to serve, a chairman pro tem., who shall preside in all meetings, and sign all orders and official papers of the committee; and a clerk, who shall keep minutes of their votes and proceedings, in a book provided for that purpose, and have the custody of all papers and documents belonging to the committee ; and either chairman or clerk when qualified may administer the oath or affirmation required of said other members of the school committee, and of trustees of school districts.
I 2. To hold at least four stated meetings, viz., on the 2d Monday of January, April, July, and October, in each year, and as often as the circumstances of the schools require ; and a majority of the whole number chosen, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but any less number may adjourn to any time and place.