Слике страница
PDF
ePub

of the State the care of the roads is given to the lowest bidder. The term of office is one year, and the compensation $1.50 a day for actual service on the roads. For collection of the tax, five per cent. is allowed.

The School Directors.—The public education of a district is committed to the school board. Like the supervisors, it is a corporate body. It determines the amount of money to be expended for school purposes and fixes the tax rate accordingly, which can not exceed 26 mills on the dollar-13 for school purposes and 13 for building purposes. One mill may also be levied for a free public library. For the erection of school buildings and for the purchase of ground therefor, the board may borrow money and pay the debt in annual instalments out of money received through the building tax. School facilities must be provided for all persons between the ages of six and twenty-one who desire to go to school ; kindergartens for children between three and six years may be established; and all children between eight and sixteen years old must attend school—either a public or a private one-for at least seventy per centum of the school term in the district, provided between the ages of thirteen and sixteen the children are not regularly employed If deemed necessary, the directors may-in cities, they shall-appoint attendance officers.

The support for the public schools is partly derived from the State, which makes at this time (1898) an annual appropriation of $5,500,000 to them. The State appropriation is distributed directly to the districts on the following basis: One-third on the number of teachers, not including substitutes; one-third on the number of children between six and sixteen ; and one-third on the number of taxables,

The chief duties relating to the actual management of the schools, are the election of teachers and fixing their salaries, determining the length of term (at not less than seven months), selecting the text-books and furnishing them, directing what branches shall be taught outside of those that must be taught (Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar, and Physiology), enforcing compulsory attendance, and visiting the schools.

Once every three years the school directors of the county convene to elect a county superintendent. They also have the powers of a board of health, and may appoint a sanitary agent.

The number of directors in each district is six, two of whom are elected annually for a term of three years. Women are eligible to this office. There is no compensation. One dollar and mileage is allowed for attending the election of the superintendent. The officers are a president, secretary and treasurer. School Directors have to take an oath, which they can administer among themselves.

The Collector.- This officer does not have uniform duties throughout the State. In some townships he collects all the taxes—both county and township; in others, the road tax is collected by the supervisors or by a collector appointed by them ; so, too, school directors in some places have their own tax collectors; and again, the State and county taxes are collected in some townships by the county treasurer or by his own collectors.

The term of office is three years. His salary consists of a commission, varing from two to five per cent. with the amount and the difficulty of collecting.

The Overseers of the Poor.--In some counties there are no poorhouses; where this is the case, the township elects overseers of the poor. Their duty is the support of the

poor. Help may be given to paupers in their own homes, or other people may be paid to provide for them, or a contract may be made with an adjoining county having a poor-house. If any one needs support continually for some length of time, as a person not able to work, the overseers require an order from two justices of the peace. To provide for the poor, the overseers can lay a tax.

The term of office is one year and the number of overseers two. Their compensation, which is trifling, is paid out of the poor fund.

The Township Clerk.—This is an office that is not always filled, for its duties have become few. When elected at all, the township clerk keeps the accounts and records of the supervisors. If any stray animals are found in the township and reported to him, he makes a record of them as to color and marks.

His term of office is one year and his salary is fixed by the supervisors. He is also entitled to fees on entries of strays and for showing the township records to such as may wish to consult or inspect them.

The Auditors.—The accounts of the school board, of the supervisors, of overseers of the poor, and of other township officers handling public money, must be examined every year by the auditors. Their report must be filed with the township clerk; if no such officer exists, with the auditor having been in office longest. A copy of it must also be filed with the court and printed copies (at least five) must be posted in conspicuous places around the township.

The duty of the auditors is not merely clerical; they have the right to disapprove of expenditures.

In case they do, the official who made the expenditure, must reTund it to the township, or appeal to the court.

Duties not naturally belonging to this office are fence

viewing and appraising of sheep when killed by dogs. In the case of a quarrel about building line fences, the auditors shall decide whether the old one will do ; and if not, what proportion of the expense of repairing it or of building a new one, shall be borne by each party.

The number of auditors is three, one of whom is elected annually; their term of office is three years. Their compensation is $2.00 a day when they are actually in service.

Election Officers.-Asitisimportant that elections should be conducted honestly, certain safeguards must be thrown around the polls. For this purpose the election officers are chosen. Before opening the election, they must take an oath, the judge of election taking a different oath from that which the two inspectors take. One of the inspectors has charge of the registry of voters, in which he makes an entry of those who vote ; the other receives and numbers the ballots. Both the judges and the inspectors have power to administer the oath to any that may have to be sworn before voting.

After the polls are closed the returns are made up by the election officers and sent to the proper officials, those of the National, State, county and city elections, to the prothonotary; and those of the township, to the clerk of the courts. Judges within twelve miles of the county seat by wagon road or twenty-four miles by railroad, shall have their returns in before 2 o'clock P. M. the day after the election; and all others, before 12 M. the second day after.

Election officers are elected for each voting precinct in a township. If the township has two or more voting precincts, there are two or more sets of election officers in it. The judge belongs to the party in the majority ; but the

two inspectors should belong one to each of the two leading parties. The term of office is one year. The compensation is $3.50 for an election ; it is paid out of the county treasury.

THE BOROUGH. The Borough.—Whenever a village has a population so large that it needs separate schools, lighted streets, improved sidewalks, etc., it may set up a government of its own; for the township has no power to grant these things to a village, nor would it be inclined to grant them if it could. A town that has a government of its own is a borough. To organize itself into one, a village must petition the court through a majority of its voters, and give notice thereof in one newspaper of the county for at least thirty days. If the judge approves the petition, the borough is formed.

The Chief Burgess.— The executive power of the government of a borough is vested in the chief burgess. He euforces the ordinances of the town council. He is ex officio a justice of the peace and as such keeps order and peace. Like all executives, he must sign the laws, passed by the council, or veto them. His veto can be over-ruled by a two-thirds vote of the council. The foregoing are his duties as prescribed by the present State Constitution. In boroughs organized prior to 1874, the nature of his office, as well as that of other features of borough government, is somewhat different.

The burgess is chosen for three years and he cannot succeed himself. In some places he gets a small salary. If a vacancy occurs in this office, the court of quarter sessions, upon petition of the town council or any citizen of the borough, shall appoint a person to fill it.

« ПретходнаНастави »