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THE UPPER CANADA
CONSOLIDATED COMMON SCHOOL ACT.
POWERS, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMON SCHOOL TRUSTEES.
NOTE. From the following summary, Trustees can easily learn the extent of their general powers, duties, and responsibilities. For more definite information, when neces sary, they can refer to sections of the Act and the Index at the end.
I. The necessary and discretionary Powers of Common School Trustees.
1. To take possession and have sole custody of all common school property, movable property, moneys, &c.
2. To obtain a legal title to their school premises, as provided by law.
8. To do whatever they may judge expedient in regard to the building, &c., &c., of the school-house, appendages, play-ground, enclosures, lands, and movable property.
4. To have the sole authority to appoint and fix the amount of the salary of all male and female teachers appointed by them.
5. To appoint a secretary-treasurer, a school collector, and a librarian.
6. To establish, if they judge expedient (with the consent of the local superintendent), a male and female school in their section.
7. To raise all moneys, in the manner (i. e. by rate-bill, subscription, or schoolrate) authorized by the school meeting. If the rate-bill or subscription be insufficient, they can levy a school-rate upon property, without any appeal to a school meeting. No meeting can lawfully decide what amount the trustees shall raise, but only the manner in which they shall do it. Should a meeting neglect or refuse to decide upon the manner of raising the sums required, the trustees can exercise their own discretion as to which of the three modes they will adopt.
8. To apply, if they judge expedient, to the municipality of their township, once a year, before the August meeting (except in case of a site and building), to raise any school-rate authorized by the inhabitants; and to compel the council to collect it, by mandamus from the Queen's Bench, should the council refuse to do so. 9. To exempt all indigent persons from section school-rates.
10. To sue non-residents for school rate-bills or subscriptions. School-taxes on absentees must, however, be collected as pointed out on page 25. In case the township council should refuse to pay these taxes (duly returned to the clerk), the trustees can enter an action, in any competent court, against the township council for the amount.
11. To call a special school meeting for any lawful school purpose. 12. To unite their school with the adjacent grammar school.
13. To resign the office of trustee, with the consent in writing of their colleagues and of the local superintendent.
14. To decline re-election for four years next after going out of office.
N.B.-No school meeting of their constituents can deprive trustees of any of these powers, or prevent their exercise.
II. Their Positive Duties.
1. To call the annual school meeting, and also a special one in case of any difference in regard to the school-site, death or removal of trustee, &c.
2. To prosecute all illegal voters at school meetings.
3. To make a declaration of office within two weeks after notice of election as trustee.
4. To see that their school is furnished with a trustees' book, a visitors' book, a teacher's register, and a Journal of Education. These two latter are furnished without cost. The two former must be purchased at the expense of the section.
5. To employ, and pay school moneys to none but legally qualified teachers. 6. To fix no rate-bill upon persons sending children to school. for any purpose (including fuel, collector's fees, &c.) higher than twenty-five cents per month, for each child attending school. In free schools, no rate-bill can be imposed upon the inhabitants. Rate bills are payable in advance.
7. To permit all residents, on whose behalf school-rates are paid, and who ob serve the rules, to attend their school.
8. To visit the school and see that it is properly conducted; that no unauthorized books are used; that all the pupils are supplied with proper text-books; that the library is available to the inhabitants, and that it is lawfully managed.
9. To exercise all the corporate powers vested in them, for the fulfilment of all agreements, contracts, &c.: and to maintain a school in their section at least during six months of the year.
10. To transmit their half-yearly returns and their yearly reports to the local superintendent, and also to submit their yearly report to the annual meeting of their constituents.
11. To affix their corporate seal to all official documents under their hand. 12. To take proper security from the secretary-treasurer and school collector. 18. To make a return to the municipal clerk of all rates imposed by them. 14. To make no contract with any member of the school corporation, except for school site, or as collector.
15. To transact no school business except at a trustee meeting of which each member of the corporation has had due notice.
16. To appoint a school auditor before the 1st of December in each year, and lay before the auditors all necessary information.
17. To comply with the award of the arbitrations between themselves and the teachers, under a penalty.
III. Their Responsibilities.
Personal Responsibility.-(1) For all contracts or agreements, when not officially fulfilled as authorized by law. (2) For the award (if any against them) of arbitrators appointed under the School Act. (3) For the amount of an award against them if they refuse to give it effect. (4) For all moneys lost to the section through their neglect of duty:-such as omission to send the half-yearly return to the local superintendent, neglect to keep open the school during at least six months of the year, &c. (5) For neglecting to take security from any person with whom they intrust school moneys, if any loss accrue. (6) For neglect or omission to affix their corporate seal to official agreements, contracts, or documents.
N.B.-Trustees neglecting to perform any of the "positive duties" required of them as above (and to the neglect of which no specific penalty is attached), incur the risk of having the apportionment to their school section withheld, may and themselves made personally responsible for the loss consequent thereon, (See the thirty-first section of the Upper Canada Consolidated Common School Act.
IV. Penalties for neglect of Duty.
1. Twenty dollars for refusal to perform the duties of their office. 2. Twenty dollars for making a false return.
3. Five dollars for every week of delay in forwarding their annual report to the local superintendent.
4. Five dollars for neglect of calling annual or other necessary school meetings. 5. Five dollars for refusing to serve as trustee when elected.
6. Fine or imprisonment in case they refuse to furnish the school auditors with information.
V. Penalties imposed on other Parties by the Common School Law.
1. Twenty dollars on returning officer for wrong doing.
2. Twenty dollars on teacher for false returns, &c.
3. Twenty dollars for disturbing a school meeting, or interrupting a public school.
4. Five dollars or ten dollars, or imprisonment, for illegal voting.
5. Five dollars on a chairman for neglecting to forward to the local superintendent a copy of the proceedings of a school meeting.
6. Five dollars on person appointed to call first section meeting should he neglect to do so.
7. Action against treasurer for refusing to honour a local superintendent's order for school fund.
8. Imprisonment of any secretary-treasurer refusing to deliver up books, papers, moneys, &c.
9, Forfeiture by teacher of any claim which he may have on trustees, and be guilty of a misdemeanor, in case of refusal to deliver up the key of the schoolhouse and the register, when demanded.
III. Specific periods to be observed.
1. Every Saturday to be a holiday in the Common and Roman Catholic Separate Schools.
2. Trustees to give six days' notice of annual and special school meetings, in three public places.
3. Declaration of office must be made by trustees within two weeks after election. 4. Award must be complied with by trustees within one month after its publition, under a penalty.
5. In cases of arbitration between school trustees and teachers, the opposite party must, within three days, appoint an arbitrator, or forfeit his right to do so.
6. Collectors to collect school-rates within ten days; and fourteen days after the first application for the payment of rates, to seize and sell the goods and chattels of defaulters within the section (thirty days when without), and to give six days' notice of sale.
7, Within twenty days after the failure of calling annual or other meeting, two resident assessed freeholders or householders to give six days' notice of such meeting in three public places.
8. Within twenty days after each rural school election, county or township local superintendents can hear complaints, and set aside or confirm such election. Local superintendents can appoint a school auditor after the twenty-second day of December, in case the trustees neglect or refuse to do so.
9. The Chief Superintendent can appeal from the decision of any County Judge in school matters, within thirty days from the rendering of judgment,
10. In default of payment of any fines lawfully imposed by a Justice of the Peace, under the authority of the School Acts, the offender may be imprisoned for thirty days.
11. Ten years are the limit of a loan to trustees for the purchase of a site and the erection of a school-house, &c., as authorized by the township council.
12. When a public library book has been detained seven days beyond the week allowed for every hundred pages it contains, the librarian shall require it to be delivered within three days, or be paid for, in addition to the fine of one penny a day for detention. The library catalogue to be open for inspection "at all seasonable times."
13. Pupils commencing the classics, to be admitted into the grammar schools after the Christmas and Midsummer vacations. Those in English alone, or who have commenced Latin, to be admitted at the beginning of each term.
14. There are two vacations in the rural common and Roman Catholic separate schools each year :-(1) The summer vacation of two weeks (in cities, towns, and villages, four weeks); (2) The winter vacation of eight days at Christmas. union schools, see General Regulations.
15. The afternoon of one day in each week, after four o'clock, to be set apart for religious instruction in the common schools.
16. The hours of teaching in common and separate schools shall not exceed six. School to commence at nine o'clock a.m. The school-house to be ready fifteen minutes before nine.
17. School to commence and close by reading a portion of Scripture and by prayer. The Ten Commandments are recommended to be repeated once a week by the pupils.
18. The number of teaching days in each month, omitting the allowed holidays and vacations, will be found in the General Regulations.
19. Before the 1st of March in any year, supporters of Roman Catholic separate schools to give notice of such support to the clerk of the municipality; and before the Second Wednesday in January they may give notice to the Clerk of the withdrawal of their support from separate school.
IV. School Arbitrations.
The arbitrations authorized by the School Acts are as follows:
1. Between trustees and teachers, "in regard to salary or any other matter in dispute." Any other tribunal is forbidden.
2. Between trustees and a majority of their constituents present at a special meeting called to decide upon the school site.
The local superintendent is, ex officio, one of the arbitrators. The awards in all cases are final, and should be in writing.
To transmit their annual report to the local superintendent.
66 30 To transmit their second half-yearly return to the Chief Superintendent.
VI. Common School Trustees' Yearly Calendar.*
A week before the second Wednesday of this month, to post up three notices, in at least three public places, fixing the place of the annual school meeting.
Second Wednesday-To attend the annual school meeting, submit
In addition, to call special school meetings for fixing site; election in case of death, resignation, or removal of colleague, when necessary; to make out the rate-bills (if any) monthly, quarterly, or yearly, in advance, &c.
• For periods the dates of which are not fixed, see Educational Calendar on next page.