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By the report of 1860, Illinois has 1836 townships, giving 5508 school trustees. What is the duty of these? They have to meet twice a year, at least, to attend to school matters, also one day for election, as judges. (The law of the state allows others two dollars a day for serving as judges of election.) They have to collect all statistics, —such as number of children, condition of schools and houses, and such other items as the State Superintendent may desire; have to keep a general supervision of all the property and schools in their townships; have to distribute and apportion all school-moneys, etc.
I contend that the board of trustees ought to visit every school in their township yearly, to know the condition of the several schools and the wants of each district, lecture to the people and interest them in the cause of education, etc. If they do their duty and keep themselves posted, they must spend from twelve to twenty days per year, and most of this time must have a horse, at least, to use. If they fail to make any thing but correct returns, they are liable to a fine of one hundred dollars and cost of prosecution.
There were reported 8956 school-districts, giving 26868 school directors. What is their duty ? They must see to keeping school-houses and -lots in order, hire teachers, get fuel, and attend to all the wants of the district. One-third of these must be clerks, and “keep a record of all the official acts in a well-bound book, and submit the same to the treasurer twice a year for his approval. The clerk must have the oversight of all school matters, that he can keep all matters recorded. And they shall visit and inspect the schools as often as is practicable.” How often is practicable? With many it is never practicable; with some, once a year; with others, once a term. If there is interest enough to visit the school, it must generally be by the clerk,