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and no township board, more power must be given to the county, and no taxes are there levied without the advice and consent of the county commissioners. The same is true of New York. town supervisor is largely controlled by the county board. duties of the other township officers, the clerk, treasurer, highway commissioner, constables and justices of the peace - are sufficiently indicated by their titles.
Inasmuch as many of the thousand or more townships of a State lack the polit cal education and conservatism necessary for perfect self-control; since also many through lack of means cannot raise sufficient money for roads, bridges, schools and the poor, a higher authority is needed, with the power of equalizing the valuation of several contiguous towns, of taxing the whole number for the benefit of the poorer, and of exercising a general oversight over township expenses. This power resides in all States, to a more or less degree, in a county board. In New York, where no tax can be raised save for schools or a town hall, and no bridge rebuilt, in town or village, without the approval of the county, it may be well to have the board composed as there of the supervisors of every town in the county; but where the powers of the county are not as great, e. g. in New England and much of the West, three commissioners elected by the whole county or its districts are better. In Michigan, for instance, which has borrowed the organization of the county board from New York, and its powers from Massachusetts, the board is too large. Judge Cooley, in a recent letter, sharply criticises it. There is so little responsibility in a board of 16 to 24 members, that there is a likelihood of illegal and unwarranted action. Matters of local concern are controlled by combinations in the board. Illinois has the Michigan system. Wisconsin has a board composed of men chosen from two or more towns. Minnesota has three county commissioners with little power. Further west the county renders valuable aid in raising money for schools, for the tax from the richer towns aids the schools of the poorer.
The importance of this power is not fully appreciated. For lack of similar provision in Massachusetts, there is scarcely any State or county aid or control of schools. Every town is left to its own resources with poor results. All educators earnestly advo· cate county and State control of schools, that there may be uniformity of methods, and that the country districts, the nurseries
of our great men in the past, may not degenerate. But two influences oppose the fear of centralization on the part of the small towns which need it most, and the dislike of the rich cities to tax themselves for the country districts.
We have reserved until now the consideration of the relations of local government to public education. A government like ours, resting on public opinion, must educate the voters. Convinced of this, the intelligent and far-sighted statesmen of the last century passed the ordinance of May 20, 1785, which gave one section of land a mile square in every township in new States and territories for school purposes, to be kept as an inalienable fund. In accordance with this ordinance and that of 1848, introduced by Senator Douglas, which gives two sections instead of one, there have been given to nineteen States and eight territories for school education, over 108,000 square miles, or nearly as much as all New England and New York. A wiser provision was never made by government, but its value is not confined, as is usually supposed, to its direct effects on public school education. "Local self-government," says a recent English writer, Bishop Frazer, "is the mainspring of the American school system."
As the immigrants surged westward, from Ireland and from Germany, from the Connecticut and the Susquehanna, they found a vast educational fund awaiting them, but to secure its benefits local organization of school districts and local taxation were necessary. The public fund alone was not sufficient, but it acted as a great stimulus. Now what has been the result? Dakota has already 400 school districts where the voters meet at annual and special meeting to discuss and vote local taxes for everything relating to school purposes. In short the district meeting is modelled after the town-meeting for which it is the fitting school.
In Michigan, the voters in district meeting direct the purchase of a site and the building of a school-house, the amount of the tax, however, being strictly limited by law. They also may vote.
146th Congress, 3d session House of Rep Ex. Doc. 47, Part 4, pp. 223-231, or Report of U. S. Com. of Education, 1880, pp. XXVII, XXXIV.
*Act No. 164, L. L. of 1881 (§ 27), Chap. II, Sec. 20. The voters have power "Sixth, to vote such tax as the meeting shall deem sufficient, to purchase or lease a site or sites, or to build, hire or purchase a school-house or houses; but the amount of taxes to be raised in any district for the purpose of purchasing or building a school-house or houses in the same year that any bonded indebtedness is incurred, shall not exceed in districts containing less
to repair the school-house, to provide the necessary school apparatus, direct the sale of school property and the management of suits at law. They also determine the length of school terms, while the district board of three elected officers estimate and vote the tax for the entire support of schools over and above what is voted by the electors.3
When, however, we speak of the school district meeting as a preparation for the town-meeting, we are not ignorant of the many injurious effects attending the district system in the older States. It caused, and continues to do so in some States, such subdivision of school moneys, and such local strife, as to injure greatly the efficiency of the schools.
In some States, notably Massachusetts, the town system has been substituted with good results. Under this latter system, all the money for the school districts of a town is voted in one sum at the town-meeting, and afterwards applied at the discretion of the public school committee. But where township government does not exist, and the people are too scattered to have similar interests, the school district system is the only one practicable, and its effect in promoting local government is manifest.
In 1880, some 35,000 of the 100,000 people in Southern Dakota were from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and other States which have complete local government, and the town-meeting has already been introduced by popular vote in the more thickly settled counties."
than ten children between the ages of five and twenty years, $250; in districts having between ten and thirty children of like age, it shall not exceed $500; and in districts having between thirty and fifty children of like age, it shall not exceed $1,000."
3Districts, with eight hundred children between five and twenty, must maintain a school nine months in the year, and not less than five months where there are from thirty to five hundred children, and at least three months for smaller neighborhoods, on pain of forfeiture of their share of the one-mill tax and primary school interest fund. But if this is not provided for at the annual district meeting, the district board must make provision for it.
Pub. Stat. Mass. 1882, Chap. 44, Sec. 28, 46-48.
R. F. Pettigrew, Congressional delegate from Dakota, writes as follows: "Dakota Territory, at least that portion south of the 46th parallel, has been settled very largely by people from Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. In 1889 there were 100,000 people in Southern Dakota; 10,000 of whom were born in Wisconsin, 6,000 in Minnesota, 5,000 in Iowa, 4,000 in Illinois, and 4,000 in Michigan, over 2,000 in New York, and many
Montana, equal in size to Dakota, has too small a population as yet (only 40,009) for township organization; but here, too, over an area three times as large as Pennsylvania, we find school districts, 105 in number, with local powers."
The same may be said of Idaho', Washington Territory, Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, California, Kansas and Nebraska. In some, as e. g. in Idaho and Washington Territory, the people do not have the entire management of their schools in school district meeting, for the county commissioners, usually three in number, assess a tax of from one to eight mills on a dollar in addition to funds arising from the sale of public lands, but the voters are called upon to elect district trustees, to vote yes or no on the question of some specified sum which these trustees may propose as a local tax, and also to decide in district meeting all questions relating to building, repairing or removing a schoolhouse.
The township six miles square is impossible in Colorado, where the people live in the mountains and valleys, along the banks of streams, or in long narrow belts on the plains, where the land can be irrigated. Nevada has begun township organization, although were born in the New England States. The township organization is adopted as each county becomes sufficiently settled to maintain it. It is adopted by the whole county by the votes of the people. Only the older counties now have the township organizations. The other counties are adopting this system a fast as they obtain sufficient wealth and population. There is no question but what within a very short time every county in Dakota will possess the township system similar to New England. This system will spread into all the territories of the Northwest. It is the bulwark and foundation of free
institutions, and is the school in which men are taught the science of selfgovernment more than any other."
See also Rev. Stat. 1877, Chap. 23.
"Report for 1878-9 of Hon. W. Egbert Smith, Ter. Supt. of Public Instruction, of Montana.
In 1880, 149 school districts, an increase of 55 in one year. Report of Ter. Supt. of Education, 1879-80, p. 30.
"In 1881, 536 school districts. While in 1879, 375 reported. Rep. Ter. Supt. 1881, pp. 9, 10.
A population of less than six to the square mile renders township organization impossible. Nearly all of the 26 counties have each an area equal to Delaware and Rhode Island united, but here also we find provision for voting of local taxes in the 1007 school districts.
Consult the School Laws and Educational Reports of the Territorial and State Supts., or the summary given in the Report of the U. S. Commissioner
of Education for 1879 and for 1880.
most of the power resides in the county commissioners. Township organization, similar to that of Indiana, has just been provided for in the Constitution of California. Kansas has 999 townships, similar to those of Indiana, with township officers but without the town-meeting. Provision was made for township organization in Nebraska, in the Constitution of 1877, and two acts in accordance with it have since been passed, but failed to become law; the first act being declared unconstitutional, and the second, in 1881, being vetoed by the governor because of its many defects. But another attempt will soon be made. In Ohio, and Indiana, and Iowa, the voters are required to approve the expenditure of money for school buildings and a few other purposes, though nearly all other local expenditures are left to the discretion of the township and county officers. Missouri adopted optional township organization in 1879, and already thirteen of the 114 counties have voted it. As might be expected, the great trouble' has been in securing the large number of competent officers requisite for township administration. Such a change as that from county to township government cannot be made in one year or five years. It is only of the tendency we are speaking. In Missouri much power is lodged in the voters in district meeting, but, as elsewhere, subject to striet limitations in the amount which they can raise. Thus we have found that the increase of local powers has been unprecedented during the last decade, and seems destined to continue until all the great West and Northwest have experienced its benefits. The following table, compiled from the census of 1880, gives some of the more important facts concerning local self-government in those States where it is most complete :
'Letter from State Supt. Public Instruction, July 23d, 1882.
'Only three fourths of the State have as yet adopted township organization.