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AN ACT

TO REVISE AND AMEND THE LAWS REGULATING PUBLIC

SCHOOLS.

Passed June Session, A. D. 1851.
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows :

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 the General Treasury, the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall annually at the annual general election, appoint an officer to be called the Commissioner of Public Schools. In case of sickness, temporary

absence or other disability, the Governor may appoint a person to act as Commissioner during such absence, sickness or disability.

SEC. 2. The sum of thirty-five thousand dollars shall annually be paid out of the income of the school fund, deposit of surplus rerenue, and other money in the General Treasury for the support of public schools in the several towns, upon the order of the Commissioner. He shall annually in May, apportion said sum among the several towns, in proportion to the number of children under the age of fifteen years, according to the then last U. States census, and shall draw orders on the General Treasurer for their proportion in favor of all such towns as shall comply with the terms of this act on or before the first day of July annually.

Sec. 3. The Commissioner shall 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 communications with school officers, teachers and parents, a knowledge of the defects and desirable improvements in the administration of the system and the government and instruction of the schools : and shall recommend the best texz hooks and secure as far as practicable, a uniformity in the schools

of every town at least; and shall assist in the establishment of and selection of books for school libraries.

Sec. 4. He shall prescribe from time to time suitable forms and regulations for carrying this act into effect, and for making all reports. He shall hear and decide all appeals and may remit all fines, penalties and forfeitures incurred by any town, district or person, under this act. He may appoint County Inspectors, to examine teachers and visit and report the state of the schools, whose office shall expire on the first Tuesday in May, annually, unless sooner removed, and who shall not be entitled to any compensation from the State Treasury :-—and he shall annually at the January term of the October session, make a report to the General Assembly upon the state and condition of the schools and of education, with plans and suggestions for their improvement.

TOWNS.

Sec. 5. Towns may establish and maintain, (without forming districts,) a sufficient number of public schools, of different grades, at convenient locations, under the entire management of the School Committee, or they may vote at a meeting notified for that purpose, to provide school houses with the necessary fixtures and appendages, in all the districts, (if there be districts,) at the common expense of the town: Provided, that in the latter case, if

any district shall provide at their own expense, a school house approved by the School Committee, such district shall not be liable to be taxed by the town to furnish or repair school houses for the other districts. They may raise by tax all sums of money they may deem necessary for the support of public schools, or for establishing and maintainng a public school library; said library, when established, to be controlled and regulated from time to time by the School Committee of the town.

SEC. 6. No town shall receive any part of the State appropriation, unless they shall raise by tax for the support of public schools, a sum equal to one third of their proportion of the sum of twentyfive thousand dollars apportioned to them from the State Treasury, which sum so raised shall be appropriated and paid by the Town Treasur rer, asequired by this act. And if any town shall refuse to raise or appropriate the sum hereby required, on or before the

first of July in any year, their proportion of the public money shall be forfeited, and the General Treasurer on being officially informed thereof by the Commissioner of Public Schools, shall invest the amount in stocks, to be added to the Permanent School Fund.

Sec. 7. Any town may appoint or may authorize its School Committee to appoint a Superintendent of the schools of the town, to perform under the advice and direction of the Committee, such duties and exercise such powers, as the Committee may assign to him, and to receive such compensation out of the Treasury as the town

may vote.

Sec. 8. Each town shall, at its annual town meeting for choice of town officers, choose a School Committee, to consist of not less than three residents of said town, to serve without compensation, unless voted by the town out of the Town Treasury.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE.

SEC. 9. The School Committee of each town shall have power, and it shall be their duty

Sec. 10. To choose a Chairman and Clerk, either of whom may sign any orders or official papers.

Sec. 11. To hold at least four stated meetings, viz. on the second Mondays of January, April, July and October, in every year, and as much oftener as the state of the schools requires. A majority of the number elected shall constitute a quorum, unless the committee consist of more than six, when four shall be a quorum, but any less number may adjourn.

Sec. 12. To form, alter and discontinue school districts, and to settle their boundaries when undefined or disputed; Provided, that no new district shall be formed with less than forty children between the ages of four and sixteen, unless with the approbation of the Commissioner of Public Schools, and further, that where a town is not now divided into districts, it shall not be done without the direction of the town. All existing districts shall continue until legally altered.

SEC. 13. To locate all school houses, and not to abandon or change the site of any without good cause; and in case the School Committee shall fix upon a location for a school house in any district, and the district shall have passed a vote to erect a school

house, or where there is no district organization and the Committee shall fix upon a location for a school house, and the proprietor of the land shall refuse to convey the same, or cannot agree with the district for the price thereof, the School Committee of their own motion, or upon application of the district, shall be authorized to appoint three disinterested persons, who shall notify the parties and decide upon the valuation of the land ; and upon the tender or payment of the sum so fixed upon to the proprietor, the title to the land so fixed upon by the School Committee, (not exceeding one quarter of an acre,) shall vest in the district, for the purpose of maintaining a school house and the necessary appendages thereon : Provided, however, that an appeal shall be allowed to the Court of Common Pleas in such cases, in the same manner and with the same effect as is provided by law in case of laying out of highways.

Sec. 14. To examine by themselves or by some one or more persons, by them appointed, all applicants for the situation of teachers in the Public Schools of the town, and to annul the certificates of such as prove unqualified or will not conform to the regulations of the Committee.

Sec. 15. To visit by one or more of their number every Public School in town, at least twice during each term, once within two weeks of its opening, and once within two weeks of its close, at which visits they shall examine the register and other matters touching the school house, library, studies, books, discipline, modes of teaching and improvement of the schools. Or the Committee may employ some person of or not of their number to perform this duty and to receive such compensation as they may allow, out of the money raised by the town, or as the town may allow out of the Town Treasury.

Sec. 16. To make and cause to be put up in each school house, or furnished to each teacher, a general system of rules and regulations for the admission and attendance of pupils, the classification, studies, books, discipline and methods of instruction in the Public Schools.

Sec. 17. To suspend during pleasure or expel during the school term all pupils found guilty of incorrigibly bad conduct, or violation

of the school regulations, and re-admit them on satisfactory evidence of amendment.

Sec. 18. To fill any vacancy in the Conmittee occasioned by death, declining or refusing to serve, resignation, removal from office or from the town, or otherwise.

Sec. 19. Where a town is not divided into districts, or shall vote in a meeting duly notified for that purpose to provide schools without reference to such division, the Committee shall

manage

and regulate said schools, and draw all orders for the payment of their expenses.

Sec. 20. When the Public Schools are maintained by district organization, they shall apportion as early as practicable in each year, among the districts, the money received from the State, one half equally, and the other half according to the average daily attendance of the schools of the preceding year. Said

money

received from the State shall be denominated “Teachers' money,” and shall be applied to the wages of teachers and to no other purpose whatever. They shall apportion the money received from the town, from the registry tax, from funds or other grants, either equally or in such proportion as the town may direct, and for want of such direction, then in such manner as they may deem best.

Sec. 21. They shall draw an order on the Town Treasurer in favor of such districts only, as shall have made a return to them in manner and form prescribed by t’iem or by the Commissioners of Pub.ic Schools, or as may be required by law, from which it shall appear that for the year ending on the first of May previous, one or more Public Schools have been kept for at least four months by a qualified teacher in a school house approved by the Committee or Comr.issioner, anıl that the money designated “ Teacher's money," received the year previous, has been applied to the wages of teachers and for no other purpose. Such orders may be made payable to the Trustees or their order, or to the district Treasurer, or teacher, and if the Treasurer receives the money, he shall pay it out to the order of the Trustees. Provided, however, that the Committee shall not be obliged to give any order until they are satisfied that the services have actually been performed for which the money is to be paid ; and provided further, that at the end of the school year any

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