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dred and forty-four, making an excess of two thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight in the number between the ages referred to over the i umber attending the common schools. If the proportion of the latter to the number between five and sixteen years of age in Queens county were the same as in Cortland, there would have been eight thousand nine hundred and two children attending the common schools in the former county, instead of three thousand two hundred and forty-four. The same cause which produces this inequality renders it neccessary to organize school districts with greater areas in one case than in the other, in order to bring into the schools a sufficient number of children to support them by their contributions to the payment of the teacher's wages. Thus the county of Cortland, with 24,168 inhabitants, and an area of 500 square miles, has 168 school districts; whereas the county of Queens, with 25, 130 inhabitants, and area of 396 square miles has but 77 school districts. If the school districts in Queens bore to its population and territorial extent the same relation as the districts in Cortland to its inhabitants and area, the number would be 151 instead of 77. The average area of the school districts in Queens exceeds five square miles, whereas in Courtland the average area is less than three. In the former, many districts must have an area less than the average, and others must 'consequently have an area exceeding it, so that in some cases children must be so far from school as to be precluded from attending it, by the inconvenience of going to so great a distance. This inconvenience, when it bears on a neighborhood, leads to the establishment of a private school; which is often continued from year to year. In such cases the school district must be enlarged in order to bring in an additional number of scholars, or the school will sometimes be discontinued for want of a sufficient number of children to support it. Thus the natural tendency of private schools is to increase with a force proportioned to their multiplication. It follows, and indeed it must be obvious on the slightest consideration, that schools are prosperous in proportion as their territorial extent, and the number of children attending them are such as neither to crowd them too much on the one hand, or on the other, to subject the children to the vecessity of travelling to an inconvenient distance. Whenever either of these inconveniences occur to such an extent as to affect a considerable number of persons, the establishment of a private school usually follows, and the common school suffers in proportion to the amount of the support thus withdrawn from it,
The formation and alteration of school districts constitute, therefore one of the most delicate duties connected with the administration of the common school system. This duty is very properly confided to the commissioners of common schools in each town, who, from their familiar knowledge of all that concerns the several districts, within their jurisdiction, are, as a general rule, well qualified to determine such questions for the best good of the parties concerned, while the right of appeal to the Superintendent of Common Schools, ensures the revision of every case of doubtful propriety, by a tribunal at a distance from the field of controversy, and therefore not likely to be reached by local influences.
The number of children attending the common schools, compared with the number of districts, from which reports have been received, gives an average of about fifty-six children to each district. This is as large a number as can be advantageously attended to, by a single teacher. In a few districts iwo teachers are employed, but these cases are rare, and the average number of children annually instructed by each teacher is at least fifty. As the whole number of children are not every day in attendance the classes will average something less. Upon the whole, the number of children in proportion to the number of districts may be considered about what it should be.
In twenty-four counties, the number of children receiving instruction in the common schools, exceeds the whole number between five and sixteen years of age. These counties are without exception in the interior of the State. In cities and large villages and in their neighborhood, private schools abound, and in every county in the State containing a city, the number of children attending the common schools, falls short of the number between five and sixteen years of age. If, however, the whole number of children attending private schools in cities could be ascertained, the number of children wholly deprived of the benefits of instruction, would, it is believed, be smaller than is generally supposed.
Deducting from the annexed table marked A, all the cities in the State, and the whole number of children actually attending the common schools is only about two thousand less than the number between five and sixteen years of age. The whole of this number may be safely considered as attending private schools in villages, in addition to many others under the age of five years.
Under any view of the subject, it is reasonable to believe, that in the common schools, private schools and academies, the number of children actually receiving instruction is equal to the whole number between five and sixteen years of age.
In the county of Genesee, more than twenty thousand children have attended the common schools during the year reported; in Oneida, more than nineteen thousand; in Jefferson, Onondaga and Otsego, more than seventeen thousand; in Monroe, more than sixteen thousand; in Cayuga and Chautauque, more than fifteen thousand; and, including these counties, there are twenty-seven, in which more than ten thousand children have been instructed in the common schools.
In the county of Oneida, there are three hundred and sixty school districts; in Genesee, three hundred and forty-four; in Otsego, three hundred and twenty-two; in seven counties, including the foregoing, more than three hundred; in thirteen counties, more than two hundred and fifty; and in twenty-five counties, more than two hundred.
In each of fifteen towns, more than fifteen hundred children have been instructed in the common schools; and in one hundred and twenty-four towns more than one thousand.
The average number of organized school districts to each town is twelve and a fraction.
In each of the eleven towns, there are thirty or more organized school districts; in each of twenty-five towns, twenty-five or more, and in ninety towns, twenty or more.
The gradual progress of the common school system, from the year 1816 to the present time, will be seen by a reference to the accompanying paper marked C.
A copy of the report of the public school society of the city of New-York is annexed, and marked G. The whole number of schools is reported under the head of districts, although several of these schools are kept in the same building; and in the number of children who have received instruction, are included all who have been instructed during any portion of the year. Heretofore, the district schools only have been reported as districts, and the average number of children, who have been instructed during the whole year, has been returned as the whole number taught.
II. ESTIMATES AND EXPENDITURES OF THE SCHOOL
By the reports of the commissioners of common schools, it appears that the sum of $314,749.36 was paid by them to the truslees of school districts in their respective towns, in April, 1835. The amount of public money expended by the trustees in the year 1834, for the payınent of the wages of teachers, was $312,181.20; of which sum $100,000 was received from the Common School Fund, 8193,560.28 was levied by taxation on the property of the inhabitants of the several towns and cities in the State; and 818,620.92 was derived from the local funds belonging to particular towns.
The amount paid during the same period for teachers' wages, besides the above amount of public money, was $419,878.69, and exceeds by the sum of $21,741.65, the amount paid for teachers' wages, besides public money, in the year 1833. The whole amount paid for teachers' wages in 1834, was $732,059.89, excepting a few thousand dollars expended in the city of New York for school houses, by the public school Society.
The whole amount, therefore, expended for teachers' wages in 1834, exceeds the amount so expended in 1833, by the sum of $17,768.92.
During the year ending the 30th September, 1835, the receipts into the treasury on account of the revenue of the Common School Fund, amounted to $134,006.40. By reference to the last annual report of the Superintendent, it will appear that the revenue of the fund, for two years, fell short of the sum of $100,000 annually appropriated to the use of common schools, and that the des ficiency was supplied out of receipts on account of revenue belonging to subsequent years, but paid in before the day on which the sum first mentioned was distributed to the schools. In this manner an actual charge accrued in the two years, 1831 and 1832, upon the revenue of the fund, amounting to $25,907.02. This deficiency, the cause of which has been fully explained in the reports of the Superintendent, was reduced in 1833 and 1834, by the excess of revenue for those years, to $12,382.09. The revenue of the present year, after setting apart $100,000 for the common schools, meets this balance, and leaves on hand the sum of $21,624.31.
Under the provisions of section 2, title 4, page 196, 1st vol. of the Revised Statutes, the sum of twenty thousand dollars would be added to the sum of one hundred thousand dollars which has been for several years distributed to the common schools, and included in the distribution to be made in February next, if the amount received last year could be justly regarded as the revenue of that year. From the terms of the section referred to, it is apparent that the Legislature intended an additional sum of ten thousand dollars to be distributed to the common schools whenever the permanent revenue of the School Fund should be increased to that amount. It could hardly have been intended to include cases in which an extraordinary sum had been received in any one year on account of revenue, in consequence of a deficiency in the payments of preceding years. The excess of payments in the year 1834, above the annual interest of the fund, is of this character; and it is by no means unlikely that the payments next year may fall short of the actual income of the fund. Indeed the Comptroller has not ventured to estimate the revenue at more than $110,400. It will be perceived that there is on the page containing this provision of the Revised Statutes, a reference to the laws of 1819, page 187, section 3, for its origin. By the law referred to, it was provided that whenever the annual revenue of the fund should amount to ten thousand dollars more than the sum then last distributed, the ten thousand dollars should be added to the latter, and the whole amount should be thereafter distributed to the common schools. This provision was designed to meet a permanent increase of the revenue of the fund, and the existing provisions of the Revised Statutes are obviously intended to conform to it, excepting in some verbal alterations. It would, indeed, be exceedingly undesirable to the schools themselves to have the annual amount they receive distributed among them on a different principle. The arrangements of school districts are made with reference to a certain sum, on which they always calculate with confidence; and the consequence could not be otherwise than inconvenient, if in any one year the amount apportioned should fall short of the sum received during the previous year. The intention of the law appears to have been to guard against such a result by providing for the distribution of an increased sum, only when the permanent revenue should be equal to it. If this view of the subject be just, a distribution of more than one hundred and ten thousand dollars would be unauthorized, although the receipts on account of the revenue during the year 1835 exceeded that amount;