Ample provisions have been made by the State for the establish¬
ment and support of public schools throughout its borders. To
this end the whole inhabited portions of the State have been divided
into convenient districts, in each of which a school is taught some
portion of the year and is open to all and within the reach of all.
These schools are supported in part by money derived from the
State, in part by a rate bill collected from parents of children
attending school, and in part by a tax upon the property of the
School Districts are formed and altered by school com¬
missioners. These districts are so formed as to best accommodate
all the inhabitants of the various localities and at the same time
secure efficiency in school organizations. Each district has a schoolhouse and a library. Its
monetary affairs are arranged, and its officers elected, at annual meetings of all the taxable in¬
habitants. Its officers are trustees, a clerk, a collector, and a librarian.2
School Commissioners are elected in each of the Assembly districts of the State outside
of the cities, and have the general supervision of schools. They examine and license teachers,
visit the schools, and in every possible way endeavor to advance the general interests of education.
They report annually to the State department of education.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is the administrative officer
of the school department. He has an office in the State Hall at Albany, and has a deputy and
the necessary number of clerks. He hears and decides appeals from the school officers and Com¬
missioners, and has the general supervision of the common schools, Indian schools, the Institution
for the Deaf and Dumb, and all similar institutions in the State. He is ex officio a member of the
Board of Regents of the University, is chairman of the Executive Committee of the Normal
School, and a trustee of’the State Asylum for Idiots. He also apportions the school fund among
the several counties and districts.as the law directs.
The school fund of the State, derived from a variety of sources, in 1859 yielded a revenue of
$264,500.® This sum, and the amount derived from the f mill tax, is divided among the schools
as followsOne-third is divided among the districts in proportion to the number of teachers
employed, and the remaining two-thirds are distributed to the several counties in proportion to
their population, and thence distributed to the districts in proportion to the number of children
between the ages of 4 and 21.
District Libraries were established in 1838; and from that period to 1851, with few inter¬
missions, the sum of $55,000 was annually appropriated for the purchase of books.4 These
1 In 1859 the amount divided by the State among the several
districts was $1,316,607.18. Of this sum $1,052,107.18 was de¬
rived from the $ mill State tax, and $264,500 from the interest of
the common school fund.
1819, One-half of the arrears of quitrents......................
“ An exchange of securities between general and
common school fund, by which the school fund
u Proceeds of escheated lauds in Military Tract given.
1822, By the Constitution, all public lands, amounting to
991,659 acres, were given to the school fund.
1827, Balance of loan of 1786, amounting to................
“ Bank stock owned by the State L...............
“ Canal “ “ “ “ .........................
1838, Prom the revenue of the United States deposit
fund, annually ........................................
An additional sum from the same fund for libraries
A record is kept of the attendance of each pupil, and the
amount due for teachers’ wages above that received from the
State is assessed in proportion to this attendance. Cost of
fuel, repairs, and the amount of rate bills abated to indigent
parents are met by, a tax upon the property of the district.
2 District Meetings decide upon questions of building and re¬
pairing schoolhouses, furnishing them, providing fuel and facili¬
ties for teaching, within the limits of the law. The annual
of 1 or 3 at the option of the district; constitute the executive
officers of the district. The Trustees engage teachers, properly
furnish the schoolhouse, provide fuel, and execute the wishes of
the district as expressed in the district meetings. They have
also the care of the district library. The Clerk preserves the
records of the district and calls district meetings.
3 The school fund was chiefly derived from the following
1799, Seven-eighths of four lotteries of *$100,000, aggre¬
gate .............................................................$ 87,500
1801, One-half of lotteries of $100,000, aggregate ..........50.000
1805, Proceeds of 500,000 acres of land sold.
“ Stock subscribed in Merchants’ Bank, and in¬
creased in 1807 and ’08.
1816, One-half of the proceeds of .the Crumhorn Moun¬
tain Tract of 6,944J atres, amounting,to............ 6,208
The sum of $25,000 from the revenue of the United States
deposit fund is annually added to the capital of the common
school fund; ..and the capital of this fund is declared by the Con¬
stitution to be inviolate.
In directing the sale of the public lands, the State reserved
certain lots in the 10 Towns of St. Lawrence co. and in the Che¬
nango 20 Towmships, for gospel and school purposes. The pro¬
ceeds from the sales of these lands have formed a local fund for
the benefit of the towns.in which they lie. Many other towns
have small funds, derived from fines and penalties, applicable te
schools. See p. 47.
4 The following directions are given in the selection of books■
“ 1. No .works written professedly to uphold or attack any
sect or creed in our country claiming to be a religious one shall
be tolerated in the school libraries.
“ 2. Standard works on other topics shall not be excluded