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THIS VOLUME BELONGS TO THE LIBRARY OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT
TO WHICH IT IS SENT. IT IS TO BE KEPT, HOWEVER, IN THE CUSTODY
DAYS, THIS BOOK IS NOT TO BE DELIVERED TO ANY INHABITANT, BUT
MEETING FOR CONSULTATION BY THE VOTERS.
WHEN SENT TO ANY SCHOOL OFFICER, HE HOLDS THE SAME ONLY IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, AND MUST DELIVER IT ON THE EXPIRATION OF HIS TERM TO HIS SUCCESSOR IN OFFICE.
The following pages contain a selection from the decisions rendered by the Superintendents of Common Schools, and their successor, the undersigned Superintendent of Public Instruction, since the publication of the volume known as Common School Decisions, by Gen. Dix, in 1837. Very many of the decisions made in the intervening period relate to the construction of statutes which have been so materially changed as to render their interpretation no longer important to the school officers. M. ny more were devoted to the discussion of questions relating to the expediency of proposed alterations in the boundaries of districts, the location of school-houses, and other subjects of merely local interest. Those only have been reported which convey instruction upon points which the experience of the department has shown most frequently to give rise to doubts and misunderstanding, and to embarrass the practical administration of our school system. Of such points there are very few which have not been decided in numerous cases, but the repetition of similar decisions has been avoided as far as practicable.
The legislature having directed the publication and distribution of the laws relating to schools in the same volume with a Digest of the Decisions of the State Superintendents, while the latter was in preparation, it seemed advisable to arrange, in the form of comments upon the various sections of the statutes, much that would otherwise have found a place in the Digest. Greater facility of reference was thus secured, and the opportunity offered of giving such instructions as may serve to anticipate and prevent the most common occasions of difficulty. These may seem to the intelligent reader as in many instances unnecessarily minute, and as presupposing an almost incredible inattention on the part of school officers to the ordinary forms of business and to the precautions against litigation, which every prudent man is in the habit of observing. The experience of the department, however, suggests the apprehension that the error will be found rather on the side of omission than in giving information that is not required. The changes in the law affecting the local administration of district affairs have been very trifling, but the constant repetition of inquiries in regard to the modes of proceeding under it, indicates that the exposition cannot be made too specific or minute for the practical wants of a class of officers so frequently changing, and so destitute of facilities for obtaining legal advice, as those of the school districts.
It is but just to add that the legal comments, which will be found under the various sections of the laws, have been the work of E. PESHINE SMITH, Esq., Deputy Superintendent, and that the whole work has received the benefit of his experience in the department, and of his legal knowledge and acumen.
V. M. RICE,
Superintendent of Public Instruction. ALBANY, November 25, 1856.
DIGEST OF DECISIONS
Commissioners cannot declare void proceedings of their predecessors, though
they may annul, or rescind them.
The town superintendents of the towns of Seneca, Gorham and Benton, declared illegal the proceedings of a previous board, forming District No. 13, from parts of the said three towns, for an alleged want of authority. The district, if legally organized, might have been annulled, but they had not power to declare void the proceedings of their predecessors. The law confers no such power upon them. The question of illegality must be referred to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, or determined by some other competent tribunal.
Per Dix, August 19, 1837.
An adjourned meeting cannot rescind an election of district officers.
Per Dix, November 18, 1837.
Per Dix, November 9, 1838.
Non-resident children attending the district school, without any previous contract or agreement with the trustees, are on the same terms as other children.
Per Dix, October 28, 1837. A tax may be levied to finish the erection of a school-house com menced by subscription, provided the district own the site; if not, the subscribers must first relinquish their title to the district.
Per Dix, May 11, 1838.
Notice of alteration of a district should be served on dissenting trustee.
Per Dix, February 17, 1838. Digest.)
Notices should be served on opposing and not on consenting partics.
Per Dix, April 9 1838.
Public money cannot be paid for wages of a past year. In other words, public money apportioned for any year, must be expended for services performed within that year.
Per Dix, March 26, 1838.
Any lawful meeting may, by vote, appropriate the public money on hand or to be received.
Notice of meetings should specify the objects for which they aro called ; but omission is not fatal. An aggrieved party may appeal.
Per Dix, April 20, 1838.
Inhabitants have no right to reělect against his will, a person whose resignation
has been accepted.
Daniel Lawrence, whose resignation of the office of trustee of District No. 2, Hamburgh, had been accepted by three justices of the peace of said town, was subsequently reëlected.
The election was set aside on appeal. The law having constituted the justices sole judges of the propriety of a resignation, their decision is final, and the inhabitants have no right to disregard it.
Per Dix, May 9, 1838.
A teacher who does not keep a proper list of pupils and their attendance, cannot
recover his wages. The teacher's list is the basis of a rate bill, which the trustees cannot legally make without it.
Per Dix, April 21, 1838.
The trustees of District No. 6, Coxsackie, refused to pay Daniel Searles, a certain balance claimed by him as due for his services as teacher. He admitted that he could not furnish them with an attendance list, as required by law, but alleged that the former trustees had directed him to charge different rates of tuition for different studies. Held, that the contract was illegal, and could not be enforced against their successors. No legal rate-bill could be made out, for want legal attendance list.
Per Spencer, July 7, 1841.
Verbal notice to clerk to call a district meeting is sufficient. A trustee who attends cannot object that he did not authorize the cal!.
Per Dix, November 24, 1838.
In an appeal to set aside the proceedings of a meeting on account of illegal voting it is not enongh to allege that a man was not a legal voter. The specific grounds of disqualification should be set forth.
Per Dix, December 1, 1838.