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The second section of the act provided that "the County Board shall, from time to time, form such districts in their respective counties whenever a petition may be presented for the purpose by a majority of the voters resident within such contemplated district." These districts were governed by boards of trustees, usually of three persons; each district was required to maintain school at least three months in every year; and later, laws were enacted providing for county school taxes for the payment of teachers, and that whatever additional sum might be required should be assessed upon the parents sending, in proportion to the length of time sent.
When Iowa Territory became a State, in 1846, with a population of 100,000 and with 20,000 pupils within its limits, about four hundred school districts had been organized. In 1850, there were 1,200, and in 1857, the number had increased to 3,265.
In March, 1858, the Seventh General Assembly enacted that each civil township is declared a school district," and provided that these should be divided into sub-districts. This law went into force March 20, 1858, and reduced the number of school districts from about 3,500 to less than 900.
The change of school organization resulted in a very material reduction of the expenditures for the compensation of District Secretaries and Treasurers. An effort was made for several years, from 1867 to 1872, to abolish the sub-district system. The Legislature of 1870, provided for the formation of independent districts from the sub-districts of district townships. The system of graded schools was inaugurated in 1849; and new schools, in which more than one teacher is employed, are universally graded.
The first official mention of Teachers' Institutes in the educational records of Iowa, occurs in the annual report of Hon. Thomas H. Benton, Jr., made December 2, 1850.
In March, 1858, an act was passed authorizing the holding of Teachers' Institutes for periods not less than six working days, whenever not less than thirty teachers should desire. The Superintendent was authorized to expend not exceeding $100 for any one Institute, to be paid out by the County Superintendent as the Institute might direct for teachers and lecturers, and one thousand dollars was appropriated to defray the expenses of these Institutes.
The Board of Education at its first session, commencing December 6, 1858, enacted a code of school laws which retained the existing provisions for Teachers' Institutes. In March, 1860, the General Assembly amended the act of the Board by appropriating "a sum not exceeding fifty dollars annually for one such Institute, held as provided by law in each county."
By act approved March 19, 1874, Normal Institutes were established in each county, to be held annually by the County Superintendent, and in 1876 the Sixteenth General Assembly established
the first permanent State Normal School at Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, appropriating the building and property of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at that place for that purpose.
The public school system of lowa is admirably organized, and if the various officers who are entrusted with the educational interests of the commonwealth are faithful and competent, should and will constantly improve.
"The public schools are supported by funds arising from several sources. The sixteenth section of every Congressional Township was set apart by the General Government for school purposes, being one-thirty-sixth part of all of the lands of the State. The minimum price of these lands was fixed at one dollar and twentyfive cents per acre. Congress also made an additional donation to the State of five hundred thousand acres, and an appropriation of five per cent on all the sales of public lands to the school fund. The State gives to this fund the proceeds of the sales of all lands which escheat to it; the proceeds of all fines for the violation of the liquor and criminal laws. The money derived from these sources constitutes the permanent school fund of the State, which cannot be diverted to any other purpose. The penalties collected by the courts for fines and forfeits go to the school fund in the counties where collected. The proceeds of the sale of lands and the five per cent. fund go into the State Treasury, and the State distributes these proceeds to the several counties according to their request, and the counties loan the money to individuals for long terms at eight per cent. interest, on security of land valued at three times the amount of the loan, exclusive of all buildings and improvements thereon. The interest on these loans is paid into the State Treasury, and becomes the available school fund of the State. The counties are responsible to the State for all money so loaned, and the State is likewise responsible to the school fund for all moneys transferred to the counties. The interest on these loans is apportioned by the State Auditor semi-annually to the several counties of the State, in proportion to the number of persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years. The counties also levy an annual tax for school purposes, which is apportioned to the several district townships in the same way. A district tax is also levied for the same purpose. The money arising from these several sources constitutes the support of the public schools, and is sufficient to enable every sub-district in the State to afford from six to nine months' school each year.
The taxes levied for the support of schools are self-imposed. Under the admirable school laws of the State, no taxes can be legally assessed or collected for the erection of school houses until they have been ordered by the election of the district at a school meeting legally called. The school houses of Iowa are the pride of the State and an honor to the people. If they have been sometimes built at a prodigal expense, the tax-payers have no one to
blame but themselves. The teachers' and contingent funds are determined by the Directors, under certain legal restrictions. These boards are elected annually, except in the independent districts, in which the board may be entirely changed every three years. The only exception to this mode of levying taxes for support of schools is the county school tax, which is determined by the County Board of Supervisors. The tax is from one to three mills on the dollar; usually, however, but one.
In his admirable message to the General Assembly, just previous to retiring from the Gubernatorial chair, Gov. Gear has the following to say concerning the public schools of Iowa:
The number of school children reported is 594,750. Of this number 384,192 are, by approximation, between the ages of six and sixteen years. The number of all ages enrolled in the schools is 431,513, which shows that much the greater proportion of children of school age avail themselves of the benefits of our educational system. The average attendance is 254,088. The schools of the State have been in session, on an average, 148 days.
"There is, doubtless, quite a per centage of children who attend schools other than those of a public character. Yet the figures I have quoted show clearly that very many children, through the negligence or unwillingness of parents, do not attend school at all, but are in a fair way to grow up in ignorance. I, therefore, earnestly suggest that you consider the expediency of enacting a compulsory educational law, which should require attendance upon schools of some kind, either public or private. To me it does seem as if the State shall not have done her full duty by the children, until she shall have completed her educational system by some such enactment.
"The interest in the normal institutes is maintained, and, beyond doubt, they render great aid in training the teachers who attend them.
"The receipts for all school purposes throughout the State were $5,006,023. 60, and the expenditures $5,129,279.49; but of these receipts and expenditures about $400,000 was of money borrowed to refund outstanding bonds at lower rates of interest.
"The amount on hand aggregated, at the end of the fiscal year, $2,653,356.55. This sum is, in my judgment, much larger than the necessities of the schools require, and it would be well to impose some check to prevent an excessive or unnecessary levy of taxes for school purposes.
The significance of such facts as these is unmistakable. Such lavish expenditures can only be accounted for by the liberality and public spirit of the people, all of whom manifest their love of popular education and their faith in the public schools by the annual dedication to their support of more than one per cent. of their entire taxable property; this too, uninterruptedly through a
series of years, commencing in the midst of a war which taxed their energies and resources to the extreme, and continuing through years of general depression in business--years of moderate yield of produce, of discouragingly low prices, and even amid the scanty surrounding and privations of pioneer life. Few human enterprises have a grander significance or give evidence of a more noble purpose than the generous contributions from the scanty resources of the pioneer for the purpose of public education.
TERRITORIAL OFFICERS. Governors-Robert Lucas, 1838-41; John Chambers, 1841-45; James Clarke, 1845.
Secretaries—William B. Conway, 1838, died 1839; James Clarke, 1839; 0. H. W. Stull, 1841; Samuel J. Burr, 1843; Jesse Williams, 1845.
Auditors-Jesse Williams, 1840; Wm. L. Gilbert, 1843; Robert M. Secrest, 1845.
Treasurers—Thornton Bayliss, 1839; Morgan Reno, 1840.
Judges—Charles Mason, Chief Justice, 1838; Joseph Williams, 1838, Thomas S. Wilson, 1838.
Presidents of Council—Jesse B. Browne, 1838–9; Stephen Hemstead, 1839-40; M. Bainridge, 1840–1; Jonathan W. Parker, 1841–2; John D. Elbert, 1842–3; Thomas Cox, 1843-4; S. Clinton Hastings, 1845; Stephen Hemstead, 1845-6.
Speakers of the House-William H. Wallace, 1838–9; Edward Johnston, 1839-40; Thomas Cox, 1840–1; Warner Lewis, 1841–2; James M. Morgan, 1842-3; James P. Carleton 1843-4; James M. Morgan, 1845; George W. McCleary, 1845-6.
First Constitutional Convention, 1844—Shepherd Leffler, President; George S. Hampton, Secretary.
Second Constitutional Convention, 1946-Enos Lowe, President; William Thompson, Secretary.
OFFICERS OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
Governors—Ansel Briggs, 1846 to 1850; Stephen Hemstead, 1850 to 1854; James W. Grimes, 1854 to 1858; Ralph P. Lowe, 1858 to 1860; Samuel J. Kirkwood, 1860 to 1864; William M. Stone, 1964 to 1868; Samuel Merrill, 1868 to 1872; Cyrus C. Carpenter, 1872 to 1876; Samuel J. Kirkwood, 1676 to 1877; Joshua G. Newbold, Acting, 1877 to 1878; John H. Gear, 1878 to 1882; Buren R. Sherman, 1882 to-
Lieutenant Governors-Office created by the new Constitution, September 3, 1857–Oran Faville, 1858–9; Nicholas J. Rush, 1860–1; John R Needham, 1862–3; Enoch W. Eastman, 1864-5; Benjamin F. Gue, 1866-7; John Scott, 1868-9; M. M. Walden,
1870–1; H. C. Bulis, 1872–3; Joseph Dysart, 1874–5; Joshua G. Newbold, 1876-7; Frank T. Campbell, 1878-82; 0. H. Manning, 1882 to
Secretaries of State-Elisha Cutler, Jr., Dec. 5, 1846, to Dec. 4, 1848; Josiah H. Bonney, Dec. 4, 1848, to Dec 2, 1850; George W. McCleary, Dec. 2, 1850, to Dec. 2, 1856; Elijah Sells, Dec. 1, 1856, to Jan 5, 1863; James Wright, Jan. 5, 1863, to Jan. 7, 1867; Ed. Wright, Jan. 7, 1867, to Jan 6, 1873; Josiah T. Young, Jan 6, 1873, to 1879; J. A. T; Hull, 1879 to
Auditors of State-Joseph T. Fales, Dec. 5, 1846 to Dec. 2, 1850; William Pattee, Dec. 2, 1850, to Dec. 4, 1854; Andrew J. Stevens, Dec. 4, 1854, resigned in 1855; John Pattee, Sept. 22, 1855 to Jan. 3 1859; Jonathan W. Cattell, 1859, to 1865; John A. Elliot, 1865 to 1871; John Russell, 1871 to 1875; Buren R. Sherman, 1875 to 1881; W. V. Lucas, 1881 to
Treasurers of State-Morgan Reno, Dec. 18, 1846, to Dec. 2, 1850; Israel Kister, Dec 2, 1850, to Dec. 4, 1852; Martin L. Morris, Dec. 4, 1852, to Jan. 2, 1859; John W. Jones 1859 to 1863; William H. Holmes, 1863 to 1867; Samuel E. Rankin, 1867 to 1873; William Christy, 1873 to 1877; George W. Bemis, 1877 to 1881; Edwin G. Conger, 1881 to
Superintendents of Public Instruction Office created in 1847– James Harlan, June 5, 1845 (Supreme Court decided election void); Thomas H. Benton, Jr., May 23, 1844, to June 7, 1854; James D. Eads, 1854–7; Joseph C. Stone, March to June, 1857; Maturin L. Fisher, 1857 to Dec. 1858, when the office was abolished and the duties of the office devolved upon the Secretary of the Board of Education.
Secretaries of the Board of Education-Thomas H. Benton, Jr., 1859-1863; Oran Faville, Jan. 1, 1864. Board abolished March 23, 1864.
Superintendents of Public Instruction-Office re-created March 23, 1864—Oran Faville, March 28, 1864, resigned March 1, 1867; D. Franklin Wells, March 4, 1879, to Jan., 1870; A. S. Kissell, 1870 to 1872; Alonzo Abernethy, 1872 to 1877; Carl W. von Coelln, 1877 to 1882; J. W. Akers, 1882 to
State Binders-Office created February 21, 1845–-William M. Coles, May 1, 1855, to May 1, 1859; Frank M. Mills, 1859 to 1867; James S. Carter, 1867 to 1870; J. J. Smart, 1870 to 1874; H. A. Perkins, 1874 to 1878; Matt Parrott, 1878 to
Regiters of the State Land Office-Anson Hart, May 5, 1855, to May 13, 1857; Theodore S. Parvin, May 13, 1857, to Jan. 3, 1859; Amos B. Miller, Jan. 3, 1859, to October, 1862; Edwin Mitchell, Oct. 31, 1862, to Jan. 5, 1863; Josiah A. Harvey, Jan. 5, 1863, to Jan. 7, 1867; Cyrus C. Carpenter, Jan. 7, 1867, to Jan. 1871; Aaron Brown, January, 1871, to January, 1875; David Secor, January, 1875, to 1879; J. K. Powers, 1879 to