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trict. This is created by an officer known as the County Superintendent of Public Instruction.* He has authority to divide the county into a convenient number of School Districts, and to make any changes in the boundaries of these that the interests of the inhabitants may require. But there must never be less than fifteen persons of school age, i. e., over five and under twenty years, in each District when created or changed; nor can a District be so changed as to make the amount of its bonds, if any have been issued, exceed five per cent. of the valuation of all property on the tax-rolls. The Superintendent must give due public notice of his intention to either create or change a District; and any one who is not satisfied with this action may state the facts to the Board of County Commissioners,* and ask them to interfere.
3. Organization. The District is said to be organized when its first officers bave been elected and have qualified; which means, have done all that the law requires them to do before entering upon the actual discharge of the duties of their offices.
When duly organized, the District has a legal name: School District No. — (such a number as may be given it by the County Superintendent), - County, State of Kansas. By this name it is known in the courts, if it is ever sued or ever brings a suit; and this is the name which appears in all contracts and in all deeds of real estate.
4. Annual Meetings.—The regular annual meeting of each District is held at the school-house, on the second Thursday in August, at two o'clock in the afternoon. At this meeting, each male to whom the State Consti
* See chapter on the County and County Officers.
tution gives the right to vote,* and each female over the age of twenty-one, and not disqualified,+ is entitled to vote. The general business of the meeting is to elect a Director, Clerk, or Treasurer; to vote the annual tax with which to meet current expenses; to determine the length of time the school shall be taught, which shall not be less than three months; and whether a male or fernale teacher shall be employed. I
5. Officers and their Duties. The officers have been already named. One only is elected each year, and holds office for three years. Each takes the usual oath of office; § and the Treasurer must give a bond in double the amount of the funds which will probably come into his hands.
* He must be at least twenty-one years of age; a citizen of the United States, or, if foreign born, must have at least declared his intention to become a citizen ; and must have resided in Kansas six months, and in the township (or district) at least thirty days, next preceding the election.
† The same limitations as are placed on males ; chiefly, when under guardianship, of unsound mind, if ever convicted of felony, or guilty of taking a bribe, or of fighting a duel.
Of course, all that may be done at such a meeting is not given. That would be as impossible as to give all the powers and duties of a public officer. The compiled laws of the State will always furnish explicit details; but one of the best ways of getting information is hy personal observation and inquiry. Scholars should be encouraged to attend the annual meeting, and note carefully all that is done there. A report should then be made to the school, and some time given to inquiry and discussion. Public officers might be questioned as to their duties and methods, and the results detailed to the school. Public affairs should be studied just as men study any trade or calling; not theoretically, but practically.
% I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Kansas, and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of
So help me,
6. The three officers constitute the District Board; and to this is given general charge of all District affairs. It levies the annual tax; has the care and keeping of the school-house, and of all other property belonging to the District; hires the teachers; decides what text-books shall be used; can suspend any pupil guilty of immorality, or of persistent violations of any of the regulations of the school; and must visit the school at least once each term.
7. Besides these general duties, each member of the Board has special work to do. The Director presides at all District meetings; must sign all orders drawn by the Clerk, or they are not valid; and appears for the District in all cases in court, unless the voters otherwise direct. The Treasurer receives all school moneys from the County Treasurer, as all taxes are collected through the latter, and pays these out on order of the Clerk and Director; keeping such accounts of these transactions as will enable him to present a detailed report at each annual meeting. The Clerk keeps a record of all the school matters in the District. He draws all orders for payments of salaries and current expenses; makes a detailed report at each annual meeting, covering all the statistics of the school year;* makes all the necessary reports to the County Superintendent; and acts as the Secretary of the District Board and of all District meetings.
8. General Provisions. Sometimes it becomes necessary to form a District lying partly in two or more counties. This is called a Joint District. Sometimes
* Such as number of children of school age; number in attendance; length of the school; receipts and disbursements, etc.
two or more Districts unite for the purpose of securing a graded school for instruction in the higher branches. This is known as a Union District. In each of these Districts the government is substantially the same as that of an ordinary District.
9. Every child between the ages of eight and fourteen is required by law to be in some school, public or private, for not less than twelve weeks in each year, unless excused by the District Board for good cause shown. It is the duty of the Director to enforce this Compulsory Law, and to see that all violations of it are punished.
10. Any School District in the State may, at its annual meeting, vote a small tax* for the purpose of secur. ing a school library. By virtue of his office, the Clerk is Librarian, unless the Board appoints some one else.
11. Any District may, at its annual meeting, vote on the question of uniformity of text-books in the common schools of the county. If the majority of the School Districts in any county vote for county uniformity, then the County Superintendent calls for the election of one delegate from each township, which delegates constitute the County Text-book Board. It is their duty to select and prescribe the text-books to be used in the schools of the county. When this selection has once been made, the list cannot be changed for five years.
12. Conclusion.—It will be readily seen that the gov. ernment of the School District is very simple.
* Not more than $40, if the taxable property in the District does not exceed $20,000 ; $20,000-$30,000, not more than $45; $30,000-$50,000, not more than $50; $50,000 and upwards, not more than one-half mill on the dollar.
thoughtful, experienced, energetic men are placed in office, it is not at all difficult to have good schools. The services of the District Board must be rendered gratui. tously; yet this is no more than men should gladly undertake as their share of the public burden. It is peculiarly necessary that the members of the Board be men who take a deep and intelligent interest in school affairs. Above all, they should be men who have no unworthy personal ambitions to gratify, no prejudices, and no pets. In their election, party lines should be entirely forgotten;
the aim of all good citizens being to secure the very best man for each place.
13. Prelude.As soon as it was determined to open for settlement the territory which is now Kansas, the United States Government, by its survey,* divided the land into squares of six miles on each side, which were subdivided into thirty-six tracts, each containing one square mile. These latter were called sections, and each larger square—thirty-six square miles-was called a township. These divisions were made for the purpose of giving definite boundaries to the lands when sold. 14. The settlers found this method of division
very accurate and very convenient, and have generally retained it in civil affairs. A township, therefore, is usually a square of land, six miles on each side.
15. In New England, the organization of each town.
* For further details, see chapter on Land Surveys.