The school law of Michigan/Text books and Libraries

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search



The district board is authorized to specify the studies to be pursued in the schools of the district, and each school board making a selection of text books for use in the district is directed to keep a record of the same.

Adoption of Text Books.

HOW OFTEN ADOPTED. Text books once adopted can not legally be changed within five years, unless a majority of the voters of the district shall consent at a regularly called district meeting (5067), If, after five years the school board does not make another adoption, the books formerly adopted continue to be the legally adopted books of the district.

CANNOT RECONSIDER. After a school board has adopted a certain text book and several copies of it have been received and sold to the patrons, the board has no right to reconsider the resolution adopting such book (88 Mich. 371).


The district board may purchase at the expense of the district, such text books as may be necessary for the use of children, when parents are not able to furnish the same; and they shall include the amount of such purchase in the report to the township clerk or clerks, to be levied in like manner as other district taxes (5068).

Free Text Books.[1]

PURCHASED BY THE BOARD. Section 1. From and after June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety, each school board of the state shall purchase, when authorized, as hereinafter provided, the text books used by the pupils of the schools in its district in each of the following subjects: orthography, spelling, writing, reading, geography, arithmetic, grammar (including language lessons), national and state history, civil government, and physiology and hygiene; but text books once adopted under the provisions of this act shall not be changed within five years: Provided, That the text book on the subject of physiology and hygiene must be approved by the state board of education, and shall in every way comply with section fifteen of act number one hundred and sixty-five, of the public acts of eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, approved June ninth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, and that all text books used in any district shall be uniform in any one subject.

HOW SELECTED. Sec. 2. The district board of each school district shall select the kind of text books on subjects enumerated in section one, to be taught in schools of their respective districts: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall require any change in text books now in use in such district.

The board shall cause to be posted in a conspicuous place, NOTICE TO VOTERS. at least ten days prior to the first annual school meeting from and after the passage of this act, a notice that those qualified to vote upon the question of raising money in said district shall vote at such annual meeting to authorize said district board to purchase and provide free text books for the use of the pupils in said district. If a majority of all the voters, as above provided, present at such meeting shall authorize said board to raise by tax a sum sufficient to comply with the provisions of this act, the district board shall thereupon make a list of such books and file one copy with the township clerk and keep one copy posted in the school; and due notice of such action by the district shall be noted in the annual report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

LOANING OF BOOKS. The district board shall take the necessary steps to purchase such books for the use of all pupils in the several schools of their districts, as hereinafter provided. The text books so purchased shall be the property of the district purchasing the same and shall be loaned to pupils free of charge, under such rules and regulations for their careful use and return as said district board may establish: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall prevent any person from buying his or her books from the district board of the school in which he or she may attend, and that nothing herein contained shall prevent any district having once adopted or rejected free text books, from taking further action on the same at any subsequent annual meeting.

CONTRACT WITH DEALER. Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the district board of any school district adopting free text books provided for in this act, to make a contract with some dealer or publisher to furnish books used in said district at a price not greater than the net wholesale price of such books: Provided, that any district may, if it so desires, authorize its district board to advertise for proposals before making such contract.

ANNUAL ESTIMATE OF TAX. Sec. 4. The district board of every school district in the state adopting free text books under this act, shall make and prepare annually an estimate of the amount of money necessary to be raised to comply .with the conditions of this act, and shall add such amount to the annual estimates made for money to be raised for school purposes for the next ensuing year. Said sum shall be in addition to the amount now provided by law to be raised, which amount each township clerk shall certify to the supervisor of his township to be assessed upon the taxable property of the respective districts, as provided by law for raising the regular annual estimates of the respective district boards for school purposes, and, when collected, shall be paid to the district treasurer in the same manner as all other money belonging to said district is paid.

WHEN LEVIED. Sec. 5. On the first day of February next after the tax shall have been levied, the director of said district may purchase the books required by the pupils of his district, from the list mentioned in section one of this act, and shall draw his warrant, counter-signed by the moderator, upon the treasurer or assessor of the district for the price of the books so purchased, including the cost of transportation.

NEGLECT OF DUTY. Sec. 6. If the officers of any school district which has so voted to supply itself with text books, shall refuse or neglect to purchase at the expense of the district, for the use of the pupils thereof, the text books as enumerated in section one of this act, or to provide the money therefor as herein prescribed, each officer or member of such board so refusing or neglecting, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof before a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be liable to a penalty of not more than fifty dollars, or imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding thirty days, or by both ' such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court: Provided, That any district board may buy its books of local dealers if the same can be purchased and delivered to the director as cheaply as if bought of the party who makes the lowest bid to the district board, also that school districts in cities organized under special charters shall be exempt from the provisions of this act; but such districts may, when so authorized by a majority vote of their district boards, submit the question of free text books to the qualified voters of said districts. If a majority of the qualified electors vote in favor of furnishing free text books, such district boards shall have authority to proceed under the provisions of this act (Act 147, 1889).

Instruction in Physiology and Hygiene.

TEXT-BOOKS TO BE USED. In order that proper instruction be given in the effect on the human system of stimulants and narcotics, the legislature has enacted laws which make it the duty of school boards to select suitable text books in physiology and hygiene, and likewise the duty of teachers to give instruction in this branch to all the pupils of the school.

In addition to the branches in which instruction is now required to be given in the public schools, instruction shall be given in physiology and hygiene with a special reference to the nature of alcohol and narcotics and their effects upon the human system. Such instruction shall be given by the aid of text books in the case of pupils who are able to read, and as thoroughly as in other studies pursued in the same school. The text books to be used for such instruction shall give at least one-fourth of their space to the consideration of the nature and effects of alcoholic drinks and narcotics, and the books used in the highest grade of graded schools shall contain at least twenty pages of matter relating to this subject. Text books used in giving the foregoing instruction shall first be approved by the state board of education.

The district board shall require each teacher in the public CERTIFIED REPORT schools of such district, before placing the school report register in the hands of the director, to certify therein whether or not instruction has been given in the school or grade presided over by such teacher, as required by this law, and it shall be the duty of the director of the district to file with the township clerk a certified copy of such certificate. Any school board neglecting or refusing to comply with any of the provisions of this act, shall be subject to fine or forfeiture the same as for neglect of any other duty pertaining to their office. This act shall apply to all schools in the state, including schools in cities or villages, whether incorporated under special charter or under the general laws (Act 165, 1887).


Although not properly belonging under the general subject of text books, we mention under this head the printed matter sent out by the state board of health, quoting Act No. 146 of the Laws of 1895, which is brief and explains itself:

STATE BOARD OF HEALTH “There shall be taught in every year in every public school in Michigan, the principal modes by which each of the dangerous communicable diseases are spread, and the best methods for the restriction and prevention of each such disease. The state board of health shall annually send to the public school superintendents and teachers throughout this state, printed data and statements which shall enable them to comply with this act. School boards are hereby required to direct such superintendents and teachers to give oral and blackboard instruction, using the data and statements supplied by the state board of health.

REFUSAL TO COMPLY WITH LAW. Neglect or refusal on the part of any superintendent or teacher to comply with the provisions of this law shall be considered a sufficient cause for dismissal LAW. from the school by the school board. Any school board neglecting or refusing to comply with any of the provisions of this act shall be subject to a fine or forfeiture, the same as for neglect of any other duty pertaining to their office. This act shall apply to all schools in this state, including schools in cities or villages, whether incorporated under special charter or under the general laws.”


In the twelfth section of article thirteen of the constitution of the state, may be found the following provision for the establishment of libraries.

HOW ESTABLISHED The legislature shall also provide for the establishment of at least one library in each township and city; and all fines assessed and collected in the several counties and townships for any breach of the penal laws, shall be exclusively applied to the support of such libraries, unless otherwise ordered by the township board of any township, or the board of education of any city: Provided, That in no case shall such fines be used for other than library or school purposes.

To carry into effect the above requirement, the legislature has from time to time enacted certain laws providing not only for libraries in townships, but in school districts.


The law contemplates that a library shall be maintained in every organized township. The library is the property of the township, and all actions relating to township libraries are brought in the name of the township (5136). All persons who reside within the township have an equal right to the privileges of the library, excepting those who reside in districts that maintain a district library (5137).

CARE OF TOWNSHIP LIBRARY. The care of the township library is entrusted to the township board of school inspectors. The inspectors are held accountable for the proper care and preservation of said library, prescribe rules and regulations concerning the same, may appoint a librarian whose term of office is one year, assess and collect fines for loss or injury of books, keep the books at some central or eligible place, and make annual reports to the Superintendent of Public Instruction giving such facts and statistics as said superintendent may require.


Any school district, by a two-thirds vote at any annual meeting, may establish a district library. Such districts are entitled to an equitable proportion of the books from the township library, and also to a proportionate share of the library money of the township.

CARE OF DISTRICT LIBRARY. District boards have charge of district libraries, and are subject to the same rules and regulations as to care of the library as are the township inspectors (Act 158, 1893).


The annual report of the, Superintendent of Public Instruction is furnished to every township and district library.


WHAT ARE LIBRARY FUNDS. The clear proceeds of all fines for any breach of the penal laws of this state and for penalties, or upon any recognizance in criminal proceedings, and all equivalents for exemption from military duty, when collected in any county and paid into the county treasury, together with all moneys heretofore collected and paid into said treasury on account of such fines or equivalents, which are not already apportioned, shall be apportioned by the county treasurer among the several townships in the county before the first day of June in each year, according to the number of children therein between the ages of five and twenty years, as shown by the statement of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; and this money shall be exclusively applied to the support of the township and district libraries, and to no other purpose (Act 15, 1895).

VOTING OF TAX. The qualified voters of each township have power at any annual township meeting, to vote a tax for the support of township libraries; and the qualified voters of any school district, in which a district library has been established, have power at any annual meeting of such district, to vote a district tax for the support of the district library. When any tax for libraries has been voted, it is reported to the supervisor, levied, and collected in the same manner as other township and school district taxes (5147).

ANNUAL APPORTIONMENT. The Superintendent of Public Instruction annually and previous to the tenth day of May, transmits to the clerk of each county a statement of the townships in his county that are entitled to receive library moneys, giving the number of children in each of such town- ships between the ages of five and twenty years, as appears from the reports of the boards of school inspectors for the school year last ending; the clerk files such statement in his office, and furnishes a copy of the same to the county treasurer (5145). The statements also indicate the various districts of the townships that are entitled to receive a portion of the moneys apportioned to the townships.

FORFEITURE. In case the board of school inspectors of any township or district board of any school district, fails to make the required report, or in case it appears from the reports so made that any township or district has failed to use the library money in strict accordance with the law, such township or district forfeits its share of the library moneys that are apportioned, and the same shall be apportioned to the several other townships and districts in the county. The constitution has provided that library moneys may be used for general school purposes, if the township board shall so determine (Art. 11, section 12).

  1. Note.—We print in full Act No. 147, Public Acts of 1889, which is the free text book law of the state. Michigan has nearly 700,000 children of school age, about 500,000 of whom are attending school. There are about 7,200 districts in the state; and, up to September, 1894, only about 400 had availed themselves of the benefits of this law. Let the student estimate the cost each year to each pupil, and multiply the amount by 500,000 to get the estimated yearly cost of text books to the pupils of the state. Now, supposing text books can be bought 10 per cent. cheaper, and, being actually worn out in the service of the pupils, last 15 per cent, longer, what would be the saving in each year, if all districts furnished free text books? Another question: Should not the sixty-fourth and sixty-fifth words in section two be changed from “the first” to “each”?