*51 Thomas D. Bailey
A / State Superintendent of Public Instruction
NARRATIVE REPORTS OF COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS
1900-02 to 1904-06
Research Report 27
Division of Research
Thomas D. Bailey
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
_ __ ___r_
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Research Report 27 is a compilation of County
Superintendents' narrative reports covering sta-
tistical and other school data for the period
The preparation of this report is one phase in
the implementation of Florida's plan for improv-
ing statistical services of the State Department
of Education under the Provisions of Title X,
National Defense Education Act,
Research Report 27 is composed of extracts from the file of State Superin-
tendents' Biennial Reports in the State Department of Education. It presents
in full the narrative reports submitted by County Superintendents for the period
1900-1906. Earlier reports, Research Reports 20 and 21, covered the period
prior to 1900. Each County Superintendent's report covers a two year period,
therefore, there are three separate reports for each county ir Research Report, 27.
To give an idea as to the purpose and scope of these reports submitted by
County Superintendents, the following letter from State Superintendent Sheats
is reproduced in full.
Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 1, 1904.
State of Florida.
Dear Sir: I am making a strenuous effort to get out the Bi-ennial Report of
school operations for the two years ending June 30, 1904, before vacating the
The general reports of County Superintendents have proven to be one of the
most valuable features of the State Report. It is desirable that they be
Doubtless you will gladly accept the opportunity of thus preserving a succinct
general statement of present educational conditions in your county, of stating
what has been accomplished during the past biennium, and of placing yourself
on record in suggesting such changes as your experience and wisdom may dictate.
The' limited time in which the report must be gotten out will prevent me edit-
ing your copy, rendering it advisable that your matter be typewritten, if
possible, subheaded, and written exactly as you desire it to appear in the
It is hoped that this privilege of advertising your work and county will not
tempt you to over-coloring or under-coloring the absolute facts, as the object
of such a report is to truthfully record realities.
Please let this report reach me not later than November 15th, as circumstances
will prevent my waiting beyond that time for anything.
It is suggested that you comment briefly on the following topics, in the order
named, and such other matters as you desire to report, or discuss, treating of
each under a sub-head:
I. BUILDINGS. State the number and character of those erected or repaired
during the past two years with total cost of the same.
II. HIGH SCHOOLS._Number before State Aid was offered; number now in operation;
attendance; grades maintained; their general effect upon.your county system, and
the advisability !of continuing the State Appropriation for their maintenance,
III. STATE UNIFORMITY OF TEXT-BOOKS,_Is there a demand for it? Do you favor
the system; if so, why? If not, why not?
IV, FREE TEXT-BOOKS,_Is it advisable that books should be furnished all of
the pupils free of cost out of County School Funds? If not, why not?
V. COMPULSORY EDUCATION, Is such a law needed? What per cent of your people
favor such a law? What limitations would you suggest in it?
VI, CONCENTRATION OF SCHOOLS and TRANSPORTATION OF PUPILS.,, What has been
done in this direction? State the results of your experience, and your own
opinion and those of your people for or against the system.
VII, MODE OF EXAMINATION,_ Is a change desirable? If so, what do you
recommend? How can examinations be made less burdensome and better tests of
IX, GRADING COMMITTEES, Does the present system give satisfaction and tend
to the production of better teachers? If you dislike the present system what
would you recommend and,why?
X. SPECIAL TAX SCHOOLS,_Number now in operation; number established during
the past two years; total amount of funds expended from the Special tax, Why
are there not more of them in your county? State their effect upon the eduw
national status of your county, Is there indication of their continuance, or
that their number will increase?
XI. FINANCIAL. Is your School Board in debt? If so, to what amount, and
for what purpose? How does your present financial condition compare with that
of two years ago? Are your teachers paid in cash monthly; if not, what is the
rate of discounts on your warrants?
XII. SCHOOL TERM.,State the average, length of school term in your county;
the longest and shortest terms for both races. Is there a good demand for
longer'terms, and what are the prospects for having them?
Permit me to insist that you give this matter your immediate attention, as copy
of your report must be delivered to the printer by November 15th.
Wm, N. SHEATS,
State Superintendent Public Instruction.
Reports of county superintendents
are reproduced as printed without
editorial comment or revision.
In compliance with your request I herewith hand you a brief report of the
condition of educational affairs in this county for the two years ending
June 30, 1902.
Buildings.--During the period of time embraced in this bi-ennium, we have
erected eight buildings, ranging in cost from $200 to $2,400, aggregating
$4,800, and have repaired seven at a total cost of $1,062.
We now have three elegant brick structures, containing from two to seven
These buildings are furnished in the most modern style, and range in value
from $500 to $2,500.
We also have in process of erection, one other brick building of eight rooms,
which, when completed, will be worth $10,000. All the others are good modern
frame buildings, in a fairly good state of repair, and nearly all supplied
with patent desks.
Zinancial.--You have observed from the financial statement in our annual re-
port recently handed you, a small increase in our indebtedness. This is due
in part to the erection and repair of many buildings which I have already
mentioned under the head of "Buildings." But this does not constitute a debt
proper against the regular school fund, since this item of expenditure is
covered by a lien upon the special district taxes. The increase in the debt
of the regular school fund is owing to our effort to maintain the high standard
demanded in this county, and to the inadequacy of the fund, accruing from the
present low valuation of property and the constitutional limitation as to the
rate of millage.
Our teachers have been receiving better average salaries during this period
and their warrants are paid on demand without suffering discount.
No trouble has ever arisen with the Commissioners of this county as to the
school levy. Therefore, locally viewed, we have no objection to the levy be-
ing under control on our commissioners. We are of the opinion, however, that
greater good would accrue to the school interests of the State at large, were
this matter entirely in the hands of the several county school boards.
With our present sources of revenue, it will be impossible ever to liquidate
the debt we owe, if we endeavor to keep the schools up to the present standard,
to say nothing of the advancement imperatively demanded on all sides.
The Special Tax Districts are popular as is evinced by the number in operation
in our county. They are being established as rapidly as conditions seem to
render them practicable.
Two districts have been established during this period, and three more will be
in a short time, giving us in all 23 Special Tax Districts.
The total tax received from the established districts during the past two years
The present law governing special tax districts is in the main a good one, and
if the amendments suggested at the last Superintendents' Convention be enacted
into law, I know of no further complaint to be made against it.
Teachers.--Marked improvement is noticeable in the character and qualification
of the teachers of this county, due primarily to the strong desire for self-
improvement, supplemented by a rigid enforcement of the examination law and the
attendance upon State Normal and Summer Training Schools, and the various associ-
ations which tend to their improvement,
Grading Committees.--So far as our county is concerned, no change in the present
examination law is desirable, However, if any credence is to be attached to the
numerous reports we have heard from some counties, we can readily see wherein a
State Board of Examiners might be preferable. I am inclined to think, however,
that a proper enforcement of the present law would bring about all the results
desired and would still leave with the people themselves the right to control their
own local affairs, a principle very dear to all lovers of Democratic system of
I believe that an effort towards too great centralization in the administration of
any of our public affairs will be resented by the people.
Compulsory Education.--Question: Is a law of this kind needed in your county? The
people of Alachua County patronize the public schools as largely as those of any
other county, but there is an indifferent class found here, as elsewhere, which will
never educate its children unless there be some law compelling them to do so. There-
fore, in the interest of the children of this class I favor a judicious compulsory
education law. A law properly framed would reduce the friction and expense incident
to its enforcement to the minimum and the good resulting therefrom would pay many
times over all expense of enforcement. I think the age limit should be from six to
fourteen years and the yearly attendance required four months.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--As to concentration, we have
succeeded in consolidating several schools, but as yet have not been as successful
in this direction as we had hoped to be. In some instances all efforts toward
concentration have been stubbornly opposed. But the people are gradually seeing the
wisdom of having fewer and better schools, consequently the opposition heretofore
existing is now subsiding.
In the matter of transportation of pupils, we have met with considerable difficulty
in that where a school had been discontinued all the patrons claimed transportation
for their children, regardless of distance, consequently in some cases advantage has
been taken of the board, causing unnecessary expenditure.
Industrial Training.-- The proper education of a human being contemplates the
symmetrical training of the head, the heart and the hand. The criticism of the
system of education in the South, that it has been only intellectual, seems to
be well founded. Consequently the Legislature could very wisely make an
appropriation for supplying these defects in our educational economy as it now
I congratulate you upon the efforts you have already put forth in this direction,
but unless such efforts be confined as nearly as possible to the practical, it will
be a long time before any real good will be accomplished,
Assuring you of my hearty co-operation in every effort looking to the betterment
of the schools of Florida, I beg to remain yours very truly,
WM. M. HOLLOWAY,
Supt, Pub. Instruction,
In compliance with your request of recent date, I herewith transmit to you
a report of the progress of the schools of this county for the last two
Buildings.--During the period just ended there have been four new buildings
erected at an average cost of $80 each, and arrangement has been made to have
several others built during the year.
Our buildings are not as good as they should be. We also are lacking in
furniture and equipment, but owing to limited means it is impossible, at pre-
sent, for the Board to make many needed purchases.
Finance.--I am glad to report that the county is clear of debt and that there
is a balance (consisting of cash on hand and unpaid taxes) to its credit of
$1,344. This is due mainly to economical management of funds by the president
of the Board. While salaries of teachers have been raised considerably, yet
no purchases to amount to anything have been made. All warrants are paid
promptly without any discount whatever.
School Levy.--Our county has the school levy at its maximum limit, but this
is not sufficient to raise necessary funds to properly maintain the schools.
I would respectfully suggest that the maximum limit be ten mills instead of
five and that the Board of Public Instruction be empowered to fix the millage
to be assessed each year. I am confident that most of the tax payers of this
county would be willing to pay a higher school tax, and that a higher county
levy would bring about more satisfactory results than making special tax
Teachers.--We note gradual improvement in the teachers. This is due partly
to the uniform system of examining teachers, and to the system of paying
salaries according to grade of certificate.
Grading Committee.--I would suggest that the grading of examination papers
be made as uniform as the manner in which questions are asked. I think this
would come nearer doing justice to all applicants.
Compulsory Education.--I think a mild compulsory educational law would work
well in this county, and I believe that a majority of our people would favor
it. We have some people (I regret to say) who are not as much interested in
the education of their children as they should be, and it seems as though a
law requiring children to be in school for a period each year would ultimately
prove to be a benefit to the children and a protection to the State.
Concentration of Schools.--Owing to local conditions it is next thing to im-
possible to consolidate the schools throughout the county, but we have just
commenced experimenting with it and hope to bring about some good results.
In compliance with your request of July 2lth, I beg leave to submit the fol-
lowing brief summary of the progress of the schools of this county for the
two years past.
Buildings.--During the above period we have erected five new buildings at a
cost ranging from $150 to $400, and have, within that period, spent about $800
in repairs, We have several commodious and comfortable structures, but there
are many buildings that need something done to them to make them more com-
fortable and attractive and the only thing that keeps it from being done is
lack of funds.
Financial.--Two years ago our fund was $1,650 behind, but at the present we
are out of debt and have a small balance to our credit, Our warrants are paid
promptly and without discount. If we don't have the money on hand we borrow
Our County Commissioners are awake to the interest of public education and
have always been willing to assess the amount asked for by the Board. Still
I think it would be a better policy to leave the assessment in the hands of
the School Board, whose duty it is to know what is needed for paying the ex-
penses of the schools of the county.
The five mills are inadequate to meet the needs of our schools, and I am
quite sure that a large majority of our people would be in favor of a higher
rate of taxation for school.purposes,
Special Tax Districts.--There have been established in the past two years
two special tax districts, making eight in all. With the exception of one,
all levy three mills, adding about $2,000 to the school fund of the county.
This fund is used chiefly in extending the school term.
Teachers,--I am glad to say that for the past few years there has been a
decided improvement in the teaching force of this county. The High School
in this county has made it possible for many worthy young men and women to
qualify themselves for teaching and they are forging to the front, making
themselves a credit to the profession. A County Teachers Association has
also helped to stimulate and broaden the teaching force of our county.
Grading Committees.--It seems to me that the object of the present "Uniform
Examination Law," which has done so much for the advancement of education in
this State, ought to be uniform, not only in name, but in fact, which can be
made possible only be having one Grading Committee instead of forty-five,
Compulsory Education.-As the law takes the liberty to say that the people
of the State shall pay for the education and enlightenment of its citizens,
it also should see that they get its benefits, and I think that, at least
two-thirds of the people of this county would favor such a law with proper
Concentration.--We are trying to work up a sentiment in this county in favor
of concentration and have succeeded in uniting four of our schools into two.
Of course this met with some opposition at first, but the people are beginning
to see its advantages and I hope that in the near future we may be able to
make further improvements in this direction. Respectfully submitted,
T. D, GUNTER, County Superintendent
Permit me to submit a report of conditions in this county.
Buildings.--A handsome new four room building has been erected at Fort Pierce to
replace the old inferior one destroyed by fire. Its appointments are excellent,
and it is decidedly the most attractive school structure in our county. Two
other new houses have been built at Oslo and Wawa.
Every school house in the countythat needed it has been repaired and painted, all
now presenting neat, attractive appearances.
Value of new buildings . . . . . . . . $4,000.00
Value of repairs ,. . . . . .. . * * * 1,000.00
Indebtedness June 30, 1901 . . . . . . . .... $5,337.31
Indebtedness June 30, 1902 ......... . ......... 1,316.09
Reduction during past year . . . . ... ...... 021.22
Warrants are paid promptly, being cashed on presentation at any bank in the county.
We get all necessary funds at six per cent. Our county commissioners are sensible
men who appreciate the fact that they should not meddle in school affairs, and do
not object to our request for levy, but why such circumlocution and reflection on
school boards? Are they not as a rule fully equal in business capacity as county
commissioners? A change is not only desirable but simple justice whose every
prompting demands it.
The constitutional five mill limitation was tolerated years ago, but in this our
day, it is a plain business proposition, that its abolishment is necessary to
enable us to properly educate the rising generation. Our sons are soon to take
the helm of State and guide the destinies of this the greatest Republic ever
known, and our daughters, by their lives are to write in bright letters of gold
a legend replete with womanly virtures, with culture and refinement, such as was
only known to Greece and Rome through fondest dreams.
Special Tax Districts.-- Our special tax districts are a pronounced success, each
embracing a school board district, three of them practically covering the county.
Brevard county enjoys the distinction of having made the most of special tax
possible,--the trustees meet in their several districts once a year and virtually
authorize the Board of Public Instruction to use this fund as a supplement to their
work, and it is practically an eight mill levy.
Amount raised for past year . .. . . . . . . . $5,702.38
Teachers. -- There is a marked improvement in the character and qualification of
our teachers. We think the influence operating is that competency is rewarded by
approval and praise, salaries are raised as the standard is raised. Incompetency
also has its reward,--so there is a stimulus for the elect to strive to reach the
Supervising Teachers.--Our supervising or traveling teacher, as an experiment last
year, proved so great a success that the plan is continued, confidently expecting
even better results as the work opens up before us. Through his employment we
provide a really expert teacher, devoting all of his time to the supervision of our
schools, he is a continuous traveler, spending the necessary time at each school,
helping and instructing our teachers. We thus secure as it were a continuous county
normal and traveling institute, which of necessity secures from each teacher such
preparation for his duties as will satisfy the critical and continuous supervision
of this expert. But best of all he is the true friend of the young beginner, who
appeals to us for help in discharging his trust; this supervisor goes forth instruc-
ted to approach all teachers and pupils in a kind, affectionate manner, and in all
his instruction and advice try to inspire them with honest purposes, greater zeal,
and loftier aspirations.
Grading Committees.--We feel no need of a change in this county in regard to
grading committees, and make special plans to secure good, honest service--but
there may exist necessity elsewhere; if so a State Examining Board will meet
with no objection from us.
Compulsory Education.--Compulsory education is needed in this county. In each
district have schools operated at such seasons as will best suit the vocation
of the people, and for eighty days at least compel every child, physically well,
to attend school, if the fruits of the child's labor is absolutely necessary
upon which to live or support dependent ones, place these on an aid list at the
expense of the State for the time the child is attending school. At all hazards
educate that boy and that girl. The State cannot afford to let its children go
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.-"We have concentrated a
few schools. Our conditions are not favorable for any extended effort as our
territory is wide and sparsely settled. The people do not favor it as yet, but
it will come with us in due time as it has already in various sections.
Practical Education.--There is in our judgement closer relation between our teach-
ing of pupils and their every environment. Our study should be to make every effort
for a practical instruction. Business and housekeeping in every school, or at least
R, E. MIMS,
In compliance with your request I hereby respectfully submit the following brief
report of schools in Calhoun County.
Buildings.--We have erected some new buildings in the last two years and expect to
develop further progress in this direction in the next two years,
Our school buildings are principally frame, with few exceptions.
I am pleased to state that the little log school house of our forefathers will soon
be a shadow of the past in Calhoun County.
We have some very fair schools, notably Wewahitchka and Blountstown, the former a
four-room building, with an enrollment of 77 pupils, the latter a two-room building,
with an enrollment of 61.
The average school is a one room frame building, with an enrollment of from 20 to 50
Financial.--Financially we are still in the lead. On July 1st, 1902, we had a balance
carried over of $1,951.36 after paying all indebtedness.
Our warrants are never discounted, being always kept at par by the able management of
the School Board and are promptly paidwhen presented to the County Treasurer, in
consequence of which we never have any complaints from teachers and others in this
While a change is necessary or desired in the county school levy from Commissioners
to School Board I am pleased to state that the Commissioners of Calhoun County have
always been very liberal in ordering the assessment which the county Board deems
necessary to run our schools.
Teachers.--There is a marked improvement in our teaching force which I attribute to
several causes, among which are:--
First. Examination law, which has done so much to raise the standard,
Second. Attendance at State Normals, where they receive the proper training
which fits them for practical teachers.
Third. In knowing they will be paid promptly at the end of each month in
warrants worth their face value.
Teachers, I would suppose, are much like other people, they work better when
paid well and promptly.
I am sorry we can't pay higher salaries than we do.
Grading Committee.--The present method of grading examination papers is good,
provided it is carried out in accordance with the law governing examination,
but I would prefer a State Grading Committee, because the grading would be
more uniform throughout the State.
Compulsory Education.--When I compare the school census of 1900 (in Calhoun
County) which was 1,369, with the total enrollment for the scholastic year
just closed which was 894, I must say that a law of this kind is needed in this
The limitations to be placed on such a law to make it useful I am unable to
My people would be divided on a law of this kind, but I venture to say the
people who pay the higher school tax would favor it.
Summary and Suggestions.--My county is progressing, if not rapidly, fairly
The enrollment and attendance for the year ending June 30, 1902, was somewhat
larger than the former year.
We are erecting a few new buildings each year.
Our teachers are doing better work in the school room.
The people are taking more interest in school matters than formerly.
A spirit of progress seems to pervade throughout the county in educational
We need longer school terms, at least six months each year.
We need more money for this and also to furnish our schools with the necessary
furniture and apparatus.
I would suggest the removal of the 5 mill limitation of county levy; also
That the State help to build and maintain a high school in counties too poor
to do so themselves.
Counties without a high school cannot have a sufficient force of teachers to
hold teachers' conventions, institutes, etc., which is necessary to the pro-
gressive teacher and essential to the building up of matters educational in
Before closing allow me to thank you in the name of the people of Clahoun
County for the noble work you have accomplished in raising the standard of
education as high as it is at present.
My board and myself also thank you for official courtesies and advice which
you are always ready and willing to give. May you live long and enjoy the
fruits of your labor. P. F. FISHER,
County Superintendent, Clahoun County.
I have the honor of submitting the following report relative to the public
schools of Citrus County, at your requests
Buildings.--All school houses are in good condition, furnished with double
patent desks,, heaters, cisterns and splendid black boards. Several school
houses are fenced and more will be soon. Our schools are all supplied with
"Free Text-Books" and charts.
Financial Condition.--The financial condition is good. School warrants are
always at par and are paid promptly. The outlook was never better for higher
Compulsory Education.--I am opposed to compulsory education, at present. In
my judgment other measures are more important and, may I day, imperative be-
fore we can hope to force our children in school.
Grading Committee.--I do not favor a State Grading Committee and am opposed
to any plan other than the present. It is good, has been good, and will con-
Special Tax Districts.--I favor a cheaper plan of creating sub-districts and
a more comprehensive and just system of control of funds.
Teachers.--The teachers of this county are progressive and have qualified
themselves for their work. Every teacher of the county attended our County
Normal last June and did excellent work.
We consider them equal in professional ability to any class of teachers in
R. L. TURNER,
Co. Supt. Phb. Inst.
Complying with your request, I respectfully submit the following report of
school affairs in this county for the two school years next preceding July 1st,
Finances.--Two years prior to the above date there was a deficit in the county
school fund of about $5,000. School warrants were them being.discounted and
had been discounted for ten years or more from 5 to 50 per cent. Rigid econ-
omy has been practiced since then to remove that.deficit. Now the outstanding
indebtedness is only $827.11, and it has been planned to pay off this by June
Early in 1901 an arrangement was made with the National Bank of Jacksonville
whereby that bank would cash all school warrants of this county when presented
and the County School Board pay the bank 8 per cent interest from the time
the warrants were cashed until they were redeemed. Since then all warrants
have been good for face value everywhere. This has saved the teachers about
$1,000 discount and has cost the county only $111.20 interest.
The maximum mill levy fixed in the State Constitution is entirely inadequate
to operate our schools. The people of this county are in favor of more efficient
schools and are willing to pay more taxes to support them. The maximum limit
to the school levy should, I believe, be raised and the school board be given
the power to make the levy instead of the County Commissioners. The School
Board know better than the Commissioners the amount needed to run the schools.
Special Tax District.--July 1st, 1901, there was not a Special Tax District
in the county that was operative. Since then five have been created, and
arrangements have been made to create two more, including all the territory
of the county lying outside of these five. The sum raised by the local taxa-
tion in the five districts already established is about $1,500; about $4,500
can be raised in the seven districts.
These districts are popular in this county. A simpler mode of establishment
is, however, desired.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--In the past two years
the number of schools in the county has been decreased from $1 to l4. This
has been done by merging five schools into one, in one case, three into one,
in two instances, and two into one, in two cases. In order to do this it has
been necessary to transport some of the most distant pupils. The entire cur-
rent expenses per month of the larger schools thus created, including trans-
portation and increased salaries, is about $100 less than that of the little
schools which existed before. By this consolidation the attendance has been
considerably increased and more efficient teaching has been made practicable.
This educational movement is comin.: into favor with the people.
Buildings.--With the exception of one little log cabin the school buildings
of the county are frame and they are in fairly good condition. A number of
schools are well furnished but more and better furniture is needed by some
of them. It is the policy of the School Board to gradually fill all the schools
with good patent furniture. Owing to the straitened financial condition of
the county the board has been restrained from doing much building or repair-
ing. Only three houses have been erected. One, a three room building, cost
$500. The two others, one room buildings, cost $135 each.
Teachers.--We have eight normally trained teachers, six of whom have been
students in the State Normal. Most of the teachers of this county hold first
grade certificates. There are only three who hold third grade certificates.
Nearly all have attended Summer Training Schools at one time or another.
Several attend the F. S. T. A. The Uniform Examination Law has caused the
teachers of this county to exert themselves to acquire more scholarship and
a better knowledge of their work.
Compulsory Education.--A Compulsory attendance law is greatly needed in this
county, and it would be favored by a majority of the people. Parents should
be compelled to send their children, between the ages of 6 and lh, to school
a reasonable length of time each year.
Grading Committees.--I suggest that the State be divided into nine grading
committee districts, each district to consist of five counties; that a
committeeman be chosen by each county, and that the committeemen of each dis-
trict.meet at some central point and grade the papers of the five counties
of their district. This would hardly be any more expensive than the present
system of grading, and it would give more uniformity. By these grading com-
mittees the grading could be completed much sooner than it could be done by
one State committee. This plan would allow every county to be represented
in the grading.
Need of Adaptation to Environment.--I believe that the work of the school
room should be brought into closer touch with the actual pursuits of the peo-
ple; that there should be introduced into the schools some training which
will throw light upon agriculture and other occupations, and will serve to
raise these industries higher in the estimation of the pupils.
Supt. Phb. Inst.
I have erected six school buildings at a total cost of $563.63. I have re-
paired fourteen buildings at a total cost of $262.52. Our best school build-
ings are comfortable, so far as the buildings are concerned but the nature
of the school furniture renders them somewhat dissatisfactory. The average
school building is not what it should be and in fact the health of children
is somewhat endangered by attending schools in such buildings. The more inferior
class of buildings are not to be regarded as school buildings.
Financial.--Two years ago the total indebtedness of the county was $2,200.00
but appropriations were made in 1900 that caused the indebtedness to increase
to $3,150.00 but during the school year 1901 by close financiering I have been
able to reduce the indebtedness until at present it is only l1,721.74. Our
warrants are paid promptly at face value.
The effect of fixing the county school levy by county commissioners a bad
one. It casts a reflection upon school boards of the State by saying they are
not competent to manage the business for which they were elected. Then
again, they are not familiar with the increasing demands made on school boards
and they would think the money was being spent lavishly and would not levy
the proper amount.
The five mill limit is too small and I do not think the public school will
make much more progress until our school fund is larger. My people favor it
to some extent because they create special tax districts.
Special Tax Districts.--They are popular in those communities where they have
been tried and the only reason why they are not adopted more generally is the
small amount realized from such district. We have had only one created during
the past two years and it pays into the school fund about $70.00. There are
five in Columbia county paying into the school fund annually about $1,600.00,
Teachers.--In Columbia county the teachers are making some improvement. It
is due to examination laws, State Normals summer training schools, and to
their long continuance in the profession.
Grading Committees.--I am not in favor of making any change in the present
system. It gives as good or better results as a State Examining Board
and the people are satisfied with it and no complaints are being made.
Compulsory Education.--I do not believe we can ever obtain the end sought for
through the public schools until we have compulsory education. We cannot
educate unless we have children in school. I believe the limitations should
be placed upon the child's age and upon the length of term. I would say force
all children to attend school between six and sixteen years of age at least
four months each year.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--Nothing has been done
as yet, except that it has been agitated and I feel encouraged that something
will develop in the near future. I am quite sure that when it is inaugurated
it will spread to all parts of the county.
Agricultural Education.--It seems to me that it is very important that children
have some instruction in agriculture. A majority of children, reared on the
farm, know nothing else but the farm and will continue to make the farm their
home. They should not be drawn from the farm with the idea that they are
educated and must not farm; that farming is the occupation of illiterate
people, and they must seek other vocation but rather that farming is a high
calling and requires scientific knowledge to make successful farmers as
well as other professional men. We need more skilled labor in all professions
and it is a child's environments that shape his future occuaptions and I
believe it should have more attention in the public schools.
T. H. OWENS,
Supt. of Columbia County.
I beg leave to submit the following reports
Buildings,--Within the last two years Dade County has erected five new build-
ings, built additions to two, which with repairs have cost $4,121.46.
We have now in the county twenty-three good houses, worth, (including furniture,
apparatus, etc.,) $21,600, on which we are carrying insurance to the amount
of $13,802. The best is at Miami, which has cost (including plumbing)
$4,979.00. The houses are all good frame buildings, eighteen of them are one
room buildings, 20x30, furnished with the best single patent desks, charts,
dictionaries, globes, etc. We are replacing as rapidly as needed, the black
b oar ds with the best Hyloplate, some of the school lots are very valuable,
especially those in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and Miami.
Financial.--The financial condition of the county is good. Our warrants are
always worth their value, and are taken over the counter of any bank or store
in the county the same as cash.
August 1st we had about $2,500 net in the treasury. Two years ago we had at
that time about $5,100. Increase of schools, new buildings, repairs, furn-
iture and apparatus account for the difference in the surplus. Two years
ago we employed 32 teachers, this year U4. I might add that we have a lot
in Palm Beach, containing one acre, for which we have a standing offer of
$4,000, which will be available should the consolidation of this school with
the West Palm Beach school prove a success.
County evy.--So far as the fixing the county school levy by the County Com-
missioners is concerned, this county school board has never had any trouble,
neither does it apprehend any in the future. The assessment for 1902 is
three million dollars and the County Commissioners always give the full five
mills. The school tax is always cheerfully paid by the people, whatever the
amount may be.
Uniform Examinations.--Uniform examination is the thing to be desired. Whether
there should be a change in the system will depend largely upon what the change
will'be. I do hot believe a State Examining Board, going from county to county
holding examinations would, or could be uniform. I prefer the present system
to one of that kind. I am content to leave it in the hands of the State Super-
intendent, believing that he can do the best for the State at large.
Compulsory Education.--I am strongly in favor of a compulsory educational law,
with the proper restrictions and I believe the people of this county will
Concentration of Schools.--This county is not favorably situated for general
concentration of schools. It cn be done at two or three places. We will
try it this year (1902 and 1903) at West Palm Beach, and two years hence will
be able to say with what success. Most people regard it very favorably.
Z. T. MERRITT,
I take pleasure in submitting to you the following report of the public schools
of De Soto County for the two past years:
Buildings.--During the two years we have not done asmuch building; as we usually
do. We have repaired and enlarged quite a number of our school buildings,
and now have most of them in very good repair, but owing to the rapid increase
of school population for the past few months we find it necessary to build
three or four larger buildings and about five smaller ones to supply the
Present need, have already contracted for six, when these are completed we
will' have plenty of room for the present.
Finances.--Our school fund is in good condition. At the close of the last
year we had a net balance of $4,807.61, and this amount has been increased
considerably since the first of July. We have from six to eight months term
in our Special Tax Districts, and five in others. We pay cash monthly on all
warrants issued when presented to the Treasurer.
County Ly.--We favor abolishing the five mill limit for school purposes
and giving the School Board the exclusive right to make the levy, though our
County Commissioners have invariably given the full limit of law, as recommended
by our board. Still I think the school boards should have that right, as
they are more familiar with the needs of schools and are just as capable as
the County Commissioners. I feel sure they would not make an unreasonable
levy, but would make it sufficient to run the schools eight months if the
finances would permit.
Special Tax District.--We favor special tax districts only for the reason we
have no other way of getting more taxes. If the five mill limit were abolished
I would favor abolishing these districts and levying a tax sufficient to run
all schools eight months, until this is done we can not hope to perfect a
thorough system of free schools.
Grading Committee.--I am opposed to a State Grading Committee as the local
grading committees have given satisfaction in our county for years, in fact
we have never had any trouble whatever. I believe the only trouble in any
county has been carelessness on the part of School Boards and County
Superintendents. I think the examination law is all right as it now is.
Teachers.--Our teachers are progressive, and are doing all that could reasonably
be expected of them under the present conditions of things. The short terms
of school with small salary does not give them the necessary means for the
training they need, they are not able to go out of the county to attend State
Normals, and what training they receive is at home in our county training
schools, and I believe that much more good could be accomplished by giving
less appropriation to State Institutions, and appropriate to each county for
a county high school with a normal department. I favor two or three first
class State Schools and let all other appropriations go direct to the counties
to be used for the purpose above stated. The State could not appropriate enough
to run such a school but the Board of Public Instruction would supplement and
have a first class school in every county, this would enable all of our teachers
to attend a training school.
We usually have five or six private schools each year about two of which are
run as training schools for teachers and to prepare them for examination.
They get very little training outside of these schools.
We have not been able to make any appropriation to these normals yet. Teachers
pay to attend them. We had one such school last year that did a great deal
for young teachers.
Compulsory Education.--Personally I am opposed to compulsory education, especially
for this county, mainly for the reason I do not think it can be made operative
here. It might be a success in some counties but I am inclined to believe it
would be a failure in this State. I think our people would oppose it in this
Consolidation of Schools.--Very little has been done toward consolidation of
schools. We have made considerable effort but have not accomplished very much.
We meet with too much opposition. The patrons do not like the idea of having
their children hauled to school. Our county is not sufficiently settled for
this, in the thickly settled sections we have consolidated several schools,
but do not transport pupils.
In conclusion I will say that our educational outlook is encouraging, and with
the removal of the five mill maximum limit for school purposes, and giving
our School Board the right to levy sufficient taxes to run our public schools
eight months, we will soon have a first class school system.
M. F. GIDDENS,
In compliance with your request, I respectfully submit the following report
for your Biennial.
Buildings.--During the last two years twelve new buildings or important additions
have been erected. Three of these were built in the city of Jacksonville at
an expense of $S6,000.00, to wit: one 'central grammar school building of the
most modern type in every respect, for white children, capable of seating twelve
hundred children and costing $42,000.00; one central grammar school building
seating twelve hundred colored children at a cost of $10,000.00, and a $h,000.00
addition to the La Villa grammar school building.
Financial.--At the close of the last fiscal year Duval's dificit in her school
funds, was $2h,561.88 as compared with the net asset of the previous year,
at that same time, of $12,308.66, The causes of this difference were of a
general nature, an increase along almost the whole line of expenditures, but
especially the increase of teachers' salaries in the rural schools and the
construction of new school buildings for rural schools.
We have no fault to find with our County Commissioners about our school tax
levy. They invariably give us all the Constitution allows, but there is some
doubt as to whether they would give more than five mills, if the Constitution
were amended to permit it.
Abolition of the five mill limitation would not be necessary, if our county
valuation were what it ought to be. If the State would only collect the taxes
from each county in bulk, instead of levying a millage, our county valuation
would be raised to such an extent that a five mill school levy would give us
all the money we need.
High levies and low valuation is a serious detriment to every county in the
State, while low levies and high valuations would be a credit to every one
of them. But if the State Legislature will not change the method of collecting
the State taxes, of course, the five mill limitation should be removed from
the Constitution in order that sach levy as may seem necessary may be made
by the proper officials of each county.
Special Tax Districts.--The city of Jacksonville has been a special tax dis-
trict during the past two years having sustained itself at the first biennial
election, no levy being asked. The original election favored a three mill
levy for the construction of a new central grammar school building to replace
one that had become a disgrace to the city. Yet this election can not be
said to have been carried by a popular majority (only 23) and, except for the
shame of continuing the use of the old building, it never could have been
carried. Since the new central grammar school building has been completed and
fully paid for by funds derived from three special sources, it will scarcely
be possible to continue this special tax district at the next biennial
Teachers.--The character and qualification of our teachers is gradually im-
proving, chiefly from two causes, to witt We are persistently encouraging
the "survival of the fittest" by weeding out that class of teachers who have
abundant scholarship but "no endowment to teach" and then we are giving those
who are gifted with that precious endowment, an opportunity for successful
development of the gift, by centralizing and grading our schools.
Grading Committees,--If any superintendent in Florida has good reason to be
disappointed with the county grading committees, surely, it must be the super-
intendent for Duval. Yet, it would seem, that the State Board of Examiners
might not be any more satisfactory and could, possibly, be worse. The pro-
ceedings of such a board would, at best, be very slow, cumbersome and void
of that promptness necessary for the proper execution of the State's educational
Compulsory Education.--Our people are not disposed nor are they prepared to
be compelled to educate but they are, almost unanimously, willing and ready
to be induced to do so. With free transportation beyond one mile and a half,
to concentrated schools of three teachers each and with free text books for
a few indigent families, there seems to be, utterly, no occasion for com-
pulsion, indeed it would be an occasion for offense where none now exists.
Besides, we are not ready financially to properly educate the volunteers.
Let us, at least, delay enforced education until the State and county school
funds are capable of meeting the consequences properly.
Concentration and Transportation.--Of 45 one-teacher schools for white children
existing in Duval county in 1896, only ten now remain. Within a year or two,
these will be merged into concentrated schools located in Duval or one of the
adjoining counties. County-line-concentration is an important phase of this
new system of organizing and conducting rural education.
A very practical illustration of the feasible working of such a plan is found
in the Maxville school now in operation on the county line between Clay and
Duval. The superintendents of these two counties chose a site for the school
according to a previous agreement that the county having the preferable site
should build a suitable house and that the other should furnish the equip-
ment, and that each should incur half the current expenses of the school
when in operation.
The most eligible site fell on the Clay county side of the line, and there
now stands a substantial, well lighted building of three commodious rooms each
accessible by means of a roomy hall and an attractive veranda, all representing
Clay county's faith in Duval county's pledge to furnish and equip it. Duval
provided 96 new patent sittings for pupils, 3 tables for teachers, 180 square
feet of hyloplate blackboard, three stoves with fixtures, a globe, maps and
window-shades and will continue to supply all portable appliances necessary.
The teachers and patrons of this school are delighted with an enrollment of
80 pupils and an average attendance of 80 per cent.
This school solves the problem of complete concentration of rural schools in
Duval county and illustrates the feasability of assimilating the school in-
terests of adjoining counties to such an extent as to form a State system of
Twelve of these schools are now in operation in Duval, each accommodating the
children of about 60 to 100 square miles of territory.
The concentration of the children into these new schools accomplished by means
of wagonettes, especially designed for the purpose, and provided by the board
of public instruction at public expense.
Twenty-seven of these comfortable vehicles are now running at an average cost
of 423.33 per month each.
These conveyances enable us to close twenty-four of the old one teacher schools,
the current cost of which, if in operation, would have been not less than $45.50
per month for each.
Hence the transportation system now in operation produces a current saving
of $462.00 per month, over the old system.
Taking from this the increase of salaries for eight assistants at the centra-
lized schools, $22$.00, and there is still left a net saving of $237.00 per
Financially, therefore, concentration in Duval county is a very decided success.
Professionally, there seems to be nothing objectionable, and of the many ad-
vantages the following are the most important:
ls.t. The teachers' work is so well organized that the average recitation period
2nd. The effort of the teacher is made more effective by means of more adequate
equipment of teaching appliances.
3rd. The health of the pupils is preserved from exposure to inclement weather
and bad roads.
4th. Truancy is wholly eliminated and average attendance largely increased
giving a corresponding increase in school funds from the State.
5th. The country maiden continues her education without fear of molestation
by vagrant vagabonds.
6th, The youth prolongs his school-days because he is conscious of an oppor-
tunity to progress in the art of learning.
7th. Many children, formerly so isolated as never to have access to any school,
are now accommodated.
8th. One or two large families can not "freeze out" the teacher merely to
gratify some personal whim or local prejudice.
9th. The farmer and his family are more content with their health-giving and
10th. Ethical culture is obtained free from the dissipations of social life as
manifested in cities.
llth, The development of the art of teaching in young teachers is more feasible
to the superintendent.
GEO. P. GLENN,
-18- County Superintendent.
In compliance with your circular letter of July 24th, I submit my report of
the situation in the public schools in this, Escambia county.
For the school years of 1901 and 1902 we had an enrollment of 3,265 whites
and 1,585 negro children, total 4,850, with an average attendance of 2,178
white and 1,007 negro, total 3,185. We had under contract 84 white and 30
negro teachers, total 114. Seven of the white teachers and eight negro
teachers taught two schools.
School Property.--During the last school year we erected in the county, one
comfortable and well arranged two room school building; rooms 26 x 30, and
added one room each to school buildings No. 26 and No. 30. Also paid for
school building No. 72.
All of the above property has been paid for in full, but the two room
building at Century, No. 79, has just been paid for, consequently does not
appear on my annual report for year ending June 30, 1902.
In addition to these buildings we purchased and paid for 100 double desks
and 200 yards of 50 inch slated cloth for black boards.
We have at present under contract a four room addition to school building
No. 1, a one room addition to school building No.. 7 and a new three room
building on East Chase Street for the negroes.
This building I think when completed, will be a model for comfort and con-
venience as a school building--rooms 28 x 28.
All these contracts are to be completed by October 1st and some will be paid
for in full on completion. All will be seated with new modern school desks.
On completion of these contracts the Board of Public Instruction will own in
the city of Pensacola six comfortable and well supplied school buildings for
white children, one with fifteen rooms, three with four rooms each, one with
five rooms and one with two rooms, total 34 rooms.
For negro children in the city, five school buildings, one with four rooms,
three with three rooms each and one with two rooms, also one rented room,
total number of rooms 16.
In the country outside of the city, the Board owns 40 school buildings, one
four room, eleven two rooms, and twenty-eight with one room each, total number
of rooms h5, making the total number of school rooms owned in the county, 104.
In addition to above, the Board occupies eighteen other one room buildings
for some of which a nominal rent is paid.
All of the buildings owned by the Board with two exceptions are seated with
modern school desks, as is also a number of those rooms not owned by the
Financial Situation.--At the close of the school year on June 30th, last,
only about 50 per cent of the school fund for the tax year of 1901 had been
collected and turned into the school treasury, and a considerable portion
is still outstanding, but every warrant drawn for the school year ending June
30th last, has either been paid or the money is in thetreasury to meet same
on demand, and in addition, the two room building noted above has been paid
for, amounting to $877.78 and payments have been made on the contracts now
under way in the city,
Using the funds from the tax year 1901 in this way, will of course, leave
us with an empty treasury at the beginning of this school year, but this
would be a small matter if we could only get the legislature to pass a rev-
enue law based on business principles. Let the taxes as now, fall due 1st
of November and allow a discount of 2 per cent to those who pay their taxes
in November, 1 per cent to those who pay in December, the full taxes to those
who pay in January and add J of one per cent for every month after January
until June or July, when the tax list should be closed,
As the law now is, there is virtually a premium offered to those who fail to
pay promptly, for they can loan or use their money and make interest on same,
but under the plan suggested above, those who paid promptly would get a fair
discount and those who held back, would pay the State something for holding
back its money.
Our outstanding liabilities at this date are $16,000.00, in time loans, and
twenty-eight warrants amounting to 1910,00. The money is now in the treasury
to liquidate same.
There would be no lack of school funds, I think, in any county, if the tax
laws of the State were carried out in each county, but as long as 25 to 30
per cent is made the basis of valuation, not only in the counties, but also
in the Comptroller's office on railroad, telegraph and telephone lines, we
will be as we now are, short of funds and not able to conduct the public
schools of the State as the importance of same demands, and I hope our next
Legislature will find some way for us to get out of our present dilemma,
either by requiring the assessments made on a fairer basis or remove the limit
of tax valuation for school purposes.
The first would be the better plan, for the second would require an amendment
tb our Constitution and this will require three or four years, even if success-
ful, to be put in operation.
Grading Committees.--I prefer the county grading committee for the following
I believe competent and honest teachers can be found in each county who will
discharge this important duty without fear or favor.
If this work is turned over to a State grading committee, the papers turned
over to said committee after the June examination would be so voluminous that
the September examination would also be completed before some of the teachers
would know the results of the examination.
This would be an injustice to the teachers, and ought not to be unnecessarily
Having more than reached the limit prescribed for this paper, I am forced to
omit remarks on the other heads suggested.
With my best wishes for your success in building up the public schools of
Florida, I remain,
N. B. COOK,
In accordance with your request, I submit the following reports
Buildings.--In reviewing the situation, as to buildings and their cost, and
maintenance, I hold ideas of my own on this point and would suggest that
boards of county commissioners (who are the guardians of the finances of the
people of a county, both in extent of levy and expenditure) be the proper
body to erect and equip all public buildings of the county from the county
building fund, and not exhaust the educational fund for public buildings.
This would prolong the school term and swell the fund immensely. It would
be a big help to poor counties and improve their buildings very much. Our
buildings are fairly good, and require considerable repairs yearly to ac-
commodate the constant growth of schools.
Finances,--Our finances have improved very much within the past two years.
Warrants are paid by the treasurer on presentation. In this county the county
commissioners have always given us the constitutional limit of five mills, but
my personal opinion is that this is not enough in our poor counties. The county
commissioners should be allowed to fix the levy so as to run the school at
least eight months in the year.
There are no special tax districts in this county as yet, it is one of our
Teachers.--The teaching force is much improved and the interest in examina-
tions, Normals, summer training schools, and institutes is being felt by all,
We are getting better teachers, better work, and better results. Hurrah for
the uniform examination law!
Grading.--The present law for grading committee is a good one, under proper
precaution. The committee should never know whose paper they are grading,
Compulsory Education.--If ever this country should assume the greatness and
grandness, she was planted to become, she must have a compulsory education
law of at least 4 months in the year.
Our county needs it. She will support it.
Parochial Schools.--The Catholic convent, with from 4 to 5 teachers, prim-
ary and intermediate grades is located here with an enrollment of from 100
to 125 pupils doing a good work. Yours very truly,
W. T. MARLER,
Under the heads suggested in your circular I hereby give you a brief statement
of school matters existing in Gadsden county at this time.
Buildings.--Our school houses, at the expense of the patrons, are gradually
being made more comfortable, being nicely sealed and furnished with good
heaters during the winters. Two of these houses in the county, just being
completed, must have cost between four and five hundred dollars. The desks
are home-made but very comfortable and firmly fastened to the floor. The
people of Quincy have at last turned their attention to school matters and
all at once, as if inspired by some Educational Patmos, a delegation of our
best citizens suddenly appeared before the school board last September and
signified their determination to cooperate with us and assist in placing the
public school at this place on advanced modern lines, and they immediately
went to work and spent about eight hundred dollars on the old academy, as a
beginning and I believe we are on the right tract to have a first-class
graded school at this place. The right kind of men have come to the aid of
the Board,---A few old fossils are still fossilized.
Financial.--Financially, we are on a solid basis. Our aim has been to bring
ur schools to work upon the cash basis, to accomplish which, for the past
four or five years, we have been sailing near the shore, trying to put as
many pupils as possible within the schools and having a reasonable margin
in our annual estimate. Last year (1901-02) our warrants were all paid off
promptly without (I believe) a single one being discounted, A few years ago
we owed a large debt, but now we have about enough money to run the summer
and fall schools and all of last year's warrants have been paid off,
County and Local Taxes.--We have no trouble in having our County Commissioners
to fix the school levy agreeablywith our requests, but it does seem to me that
the men whose minds and thoughts are naturally placed on school matters, as
is the case with members of the School Board, should have the levying power
in their hands,
Our people are waking up to the necessity of higher taxation for school pur-
poses, which is evidenced by the fact that petitions are being published for
two special School Sub-Districts and furthermore by the significant fact that
the corporation of the town of Quincy has levied an additional five mills
to assist the Board in running the Quincy school for the present year (1902,03),
Teachers.--There is evedent improvement in the character and qualifications
of our teachers and I attribute it to the fact that the Normals, and to some
extent the summer schools, are being attended to a greater extent than here-
tofore. I do all I can to get them to the Normal, which to my mind is lift.
ing our teachers more than anything else, Our people also are disgusted
with what they call the "third grade" and our teachers who hold third grade
certificates can hardly get a school--which shows the trend we are taking
in school matters,
Grading Committees.--We are opposed to any change in the make-up of the grading
committees. I believe we are doing better now than ever before and I deprecate
the idea of anything being done to check the upward impulse that seems to be
pervading our people both in town and county, I believe that the charges of
favoritism made against some superintendents are more than anything else the
fruits of some little spite jealously and vindictiveness that seem to dominate
and cloud our better feelings and sway our judgment. Some of us seem to have
too much of the worst side of human nature in our make up, The changes here,
tofore made in your school law have not, as far as I can see, been an improve-
ment. Let us not have too much centralism.
Compulsory Education.--We are getting most of the children to the schools.
If we had a compulsory law, how would you enforce it? When a poor man can-
not send to school, would you fine him? I do not see that anything can take
the place of an enlightened sentiment, which we are trying to infuse into
our people. I do not know how or to what extent we could go on that line.
Concentration of Schools,--Our board has already combined schools in two or
three places in order to procure better teachers. The people are seeing the
importance of the course pursued and the idea is rapidly gaining ground that
this concentration of schools must continue in order to bring higher salaries
and longer terms.
Industrial Education.--It seems to me that in conducting schools and educa-
ting children some regard should be had to the vocations in life, whether in
town or country, which the pupils, far as we can see, are likely to pursue,
and I think that a due regard to the present and future environments, as far
as we can see, should be made a feature in our schools. When we intend to
make an intelligent and useful citizen of a child, we should leave nothing
undone that has a tendency to lead him or her in that direction.
At your request I submit the following report of the schools of Hamilton
Buildings.--The School Board and the town of Jasper spent last summer about
$1,000.00 on the buildings of the Jasper Normal Institute, which are used as
the county High School.
With aid from Board, the patrons have erected several new houses throughout
Home-Made Desks.--We are not able to supply county schools with patent desks,
and found that we can get a local mill to make a desk at $1.50 that is very
satisfactory. I find them of'wonderful benefit to schools where they are
Financial.--I think, since the School Board must maintain the schools, that
it ought to have the power to determine number of mills to be assessed.
I favor the removal of the five mill maximum.
In July 1900, the Board was $3,600.00 in debt. In July 1901, it.was $2,200.00
behind. In July 1902, it only owed $850.00. This gain has been due to the
fact that we abolished the system of paying by grade of certificate and have
classified the schools.
We now pay from $20 to $30 per school and board.
County School Warrants,--Our warrants are cashed from February to October of
each year. Not many teachers are compelled to discount them.
Special Tax Districts,--There are only two special tax districts in the county.
Several other sections are considering the establishment of them.
Teachers.-.l am glad to report a gradual advancement in the proficiency of
our teaching force. This is largely due to the work of the Jasper Normal
Institute and the uniform examination.
I have considerable trouble in securing teachers for winter schools and am
forced therefore to run schools during the summer months. I select the tea-
chers from the pupils here attending school, for three or four months work.
I regret I cannot keep them for winter use.
We feel no great effect of State Normals and Summer Schools as we do not come
in contact with them.
Grading Committees.--A State Examining Board is desirable with wise limita-
tions. At present the system is not uniform.
Compulsory Education.--Our citizens in the main do not favor the reform,
bu I believe a wise measure to this effect would improve the educational
condition of the state.
Primary Certificate.--I favor the granting of certificates to specially trained
primary teachers, which certificate will allow them to do primary work only.
State Schools.--I believe the State is not spending money wisely for educa-
tion in the State Schools. I do not think the State should pay the board of
There are too many of these schools which are doing almost no higher work,
but are only doing the work that a county High School ought to do.
Too much politics controls the appropriations.
It would be a wise thing to appropriate some money now used in supporting
faculties that have little or nothing to do, in aiding county High Schools.
One hundred per cent. more good would be done.
I favor the High School bill defeated in the last Legislature.
J. H. REID,
During the past two years Hernando county has paid out for new buildings,
$262.18; repairs on buildings, $345.85.
All school buildings are now in good condition, and every community having
sufficient number of children has a comfortable frame school building and a
school, except a colored one, for which a small cabin was purchased to serve
until premanency of the school could be established. Nearly all schools have
patent desks; all have water on the premises, and are supplied with black-
boards, heaters, charts, free books, and necessary out-houses.
The shortest term of white schools is six months, longest eight, Colored
schools all run four months.
The Hernando High School.--has a library of general literature. Also a chemi-
Free Text Books.--All text books used are free. So firmly fixed is this fea-
ture in the good opinion of the people, that any attempt to eliminate it would
be followed by a practically unanimous protest.
Financial Condition.--The present financial condition is good. Little change
has taken place in this respect during the past years. Teachers are paid cash,
and warrants promptly met at close of the year. Money is borrowed to pay
teachers until taxes are collected in the spring. The borrowed money costs
$80 a year.
School Tax evy.--No friction occurs between the school board and county
commissioners in levying school taxes, but theoretically it would be better
for.the school board to make the levy. Our county commissioners are heartily
in favor of public schools and, on the recommendation of the school board,
always levy to the limit of the law.
The Five Mill Tax Limit.--Were the Constitutional five mill limitation of
county levy abolished and eight mills substituted for it and the special tax,
there would be no increase of revenue, but a more equitable distribution of
the funds, and a large saving of the expenses now required to keep up special
tax districts. The county now pays eight mills, but that is divided between
the five mills and the special tax levies. A straight eight mill tax would
be more satisfactory and economical.
Special Tax School Districts.--The entire county is covered by eleven special
tax school districts. They are popular, because they extend school terms from
to six and eight months. Until the five mill limit is removed our people
will sustain the special tax districts and continue the levy at two and three
Our Teachers.--Are improved in character and qualifications for their duties.
Nearly all have attended normal or summer training schools. Marriage has
removed some of our best teachers. Will the Legislature kindly devise some
plan by which we can keep such teachers single and at work until they are
twenty-five years old? Our entire force attends the monthly institute,
except three who cannot do so on account of distance. A large majority at-
tend the Florida State Teachers Association.
Examination.--The examination law is satisfactory as it stands, except that
the terms of the second and third grade certificates are too long--one year
should be cut off from each; and some of the High School branches not now in-
cluded should be added to the first grade.
Compulsory Education.--Our people would favor a judicious compulsory education
law, carefully adjusted to the needs of the working classes, limited to the
first eight years of a child's legal school period; compulsory from four to
six months in the year. Compulsory education without free books would be
unjust. The State should not force a child into the school unless it furnishes
the means for it to study after it gets there. There should be no recognition
of financial condition among children in giving out free books.
Industrial Education.--Personally we believe that public school education
should be basic or general in its character. When the elements of a common
school education have been mastered, then an occupational term may be given,
but not before. Agricultural and industrial environments do not justify
special training in this direction until after the common school period has
passed, Teachers, alone in rural, multigraded schools, have their time, physical
ability and intellectual powers taxed to this limit in imparting instruction
in the elementary branches of a common school education. Applicants for first
grade and State certificates might be given instruction on agricultural and
industrial lines in the training schools, but examinations should only be taken
by those wishing to teach in industrial schools. Examinations could be held
for what might be termed industrial certificates.
State Suport of County High Schools,--We are heartily in favor of the legis-
lature passing a law establishing a High School in every county, to be main-
tained by the State but under control of the County School Board as are other
county schools. This would materially assist the common schools by releasing
for their improvement the large sums now required to maintain High Schools.
But the one mill tax and interest on school fund should not be diverted to
this purpose. They should remain for the use of the common schools.
Common Schools.--We hope the legislature will remember in their deliberations
that the common schools are of the greatest importance because a large majority
of children attend no other, and direct legislation in their interest, and for
their encouragement and support, especially in the matter of financial assist-
In conclusion we would remark that Hernando county proposes to press on un-
ceasingly toward the mark of the highest improvement in her public school
system, giving the greatest care to her common schools.
A. M. C. RUSSELL,
Supt. Hernando County.
Acting upon your suggestion I submit the following report.
Buildings.--During the last two years there have been erected sixteen school
houses costing about $12,000.00.
There are being built and nearing completion a $3,000.00 Ward School house in
Tampa, a $12,000.00 brick school house in St. Petersburg for the higher depart-
ments, and three country school houses that will cost in the aggregate about
Hyde Park Special Tax District has the plans ready and is now receiving bids
for the erection of a $10,000.00 brick building.
Repairs to various buildings will amount to $1,000.00.
Patent desks have been supplied to various schools to the amount of $1,000.00,
and with what we have on hand and ordered, by November we will have supplied
schools to the amount of $3,000.00. We believe that the best are the cheap-
est and hope to see every school supplied with good patent desks.
Our county High School has a library that is quite valuable for its size and
is growing constantly. It also has a good chemical and physical apparatus,
and good laboratory work is being done, It is also well equipped for a business
Financial.--At the close of the school year we had on hand in the general county
fund $1,766,07 and in the Special Tax Fund $5,828.66. There were outstand-
ing warrants to the amount of $1,550.00, thus leaving a balance all told
Two years ago there was a balance of about $7,450.00, to the credit of the
county fund, this was mainly used in building and equipping the County High
School. A year ago there was a dificit of $5,000.00 in the County Fund.
By strict economy and the establishment of Special Tax Districts we have been
able to clear up the debt and have the balance in our favor.
Our warrants are paid promptly. Our County Commissioners work in perfect har-
mony with the Board of Education and there is no friction over the levy. We
have the maximum that the law allows, but it is not enough. The five mill
limit should be abolished. A majority of our people would favor it.
Special Tax Districts.--Realizing that more money is the crying need of the
schools we have encouraged the establishment of Special Tax Districts. We
have increased the number from six to twenty. Five of them were established
last year and nine this year. Eleven Special Tax Districts brought in over
six thousand dollars and the other nine will increase this amount considerably.
Special Tax Districts are popular with our people and add to the interest of
the schools wherever established,
The County Board has advanced money to the Special Tax Districts and thus en-
abled several of them to build good school houses, and others to make necessary
repairs. The law needs amending so that the expense of establishing and
maintaining these districts may be reduced.
Teachers.--Our teaching force is not all that we would desire. There are so
many changes that we find it difficult to keep up the standard that we would
like. Many of our teachers though are thoroughly interested and do excellent
work. Some of them attend the Southern Summer School at Knoxville, a number
were at Tallahassee and several at DeLand, and our home Normals were very
liberally patronized. These summer schools serve a most excellent purpose.
Grading Committees.--We have been fortunate in our grading committees and
believe they have acted wisely and conscientiously in their work, So long
as we can have such material to select from we see no necessity for a change
in the law. The examinations are too long, and expensive in the way of board
bills, besides they are a great nervous strain upon many of the teachers.
Compulsory Education.--We need a wise law compelling the attendance of chil-
dren at school. As to the limitations that should be placed upon such a law
that is a difficult question. Many of our people are favorable to such a law.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--Last year we carried
between forty and fifty pupils' to school, and we found it in the main satis-
factory. This year we have contracted to furnish transportation to about
one hundred. It enables us to establish and maintain fewer and better schools,
and to furnish a better land, and where raliroad and turpentine negroes are
numerous it is certainly a very satisfactory way to keep. up the attendance.
It takes the children to and from school dryshod and in perfect safety.
The system is growing in popular favor though there is still some opposition.
Industrial Instruction.--Our schools should be made as practiacl as possible
and the course of study should bear more directly upon the environments of
The Elements of Agriculture, Horticulture, Fruit Growing etc., should receive
attention as soon as it can possibly be done, besides Manual Training and
B. C. GRAHAM,
Below find a general summary of the schools of Holmes county, Florida.
I am glad to say that the schools of this county are improving every year,
Buildings.--The people of the rural districts have built several nice and com-
modious school houses during the past two years.
Also the citizens of Ponce de Leon have built a large two story building for
school purposes. The general average of the school buildings has improved
wonderfully for the past two years.
The most of the buildings have good heaters, desks and other school furniture.
The school board has deeds to several of the buildings through the county.
The citizens of the rural districts seem to take a better interest in schools
than ever before.
Financial,--Our present condition financially is much better than two years
ago, while we have to discount our warrants yet we can discount now at 10 per
cent while two years ago the discount was from 15 to 25 and sometimes 30 per
We hope with the present year to come nearer out of debt than ever before.
I believe the majority of the people of this county would favor more tax for
Special Tax Districts.--We have only one special tax district in our county.
Ahat is in one of the rural districts, the amount raised by special tax amounts
to about seventy dollars which enables that school to continue their term of
school for six months instead of four--the regular term of the other schools,
They have also built a nice two room school house. 'We are contemplating or-
ganizing several more this school year.
Teachers.--There is considerable improvement in our teaching force. All seem
to be trying to elevate their schools in morals and education. Our young
teachers seem to realize that they must be on the upward movement. As soon
as their school terms expire they enter one of the High Schools or some of
the State schools, in order to better qualify themselves for future work.
State Examining Board.--For the masses of the people of this county I do not
think a change necessary in grading committee. For myself I would prefer a
State examining board.
Compulsory Education.--A compulsory law is needed in our county for the good
of our children especially in the rural districts. I would suggest that
children from the ages of 8 to 15 years inclusive be subject to such a law.
We have not tried the transportation of pupils. The matter has been brought
before our school board, but the people seem to be doubtful if it can be done
We have two high schools in our county. One at Westville, Prof. P. F. Woodruff
principal, Prof. J. C. Brown 1st assistant, Miss Annie E. Woodruff primary
department. This school has an attendance of one hundred and seventy-five
students from this and other adjoining counties, it is doing good work.
The Bonifay High School, Prof. L. S. Barber, principal, Miss Carrie Finney,
1st assistant, and Mrs. Annie E. Barber primary department--has an attendance
of one hundred and twenty-five--is also doing good work.
We have no private schools. Tuition is free to all scholars in our county.
W. H. MARTIN,
In response to your letter of July 24, I respectfully submit a report of the
condition of the Public Schools of Jackson County.
Financial.--Unfortunately the school fund of Jackson county is badly behind,
the outstanding indebtedness at the close of year, June 30, 1902 being between
$9,000.00 and $10,000.00. To protect the teachers against heavy discounts,
the School Board arranges the salaries of teachers on as low basis as is con-
sistent, and borrows money at the legal rate of eight per cent. per annum, and
pays face value for all warrants issued.
Buildings.--The county has done very little toward the erection of school
houses for the past two years, but there is quite an interest taken on the part
of the patrons and citizens in communities of the country. Some very good
houses have been erected by the patrons, in many instances with little or no
help from the School Board.
Teachers.--Jackson county has reason to be proud of her corps of teachers. In
the main they are young, enthusiastic, and in most instances they are taking
advantage of every opportunity to advance themselves in their profession.
Besides their representatives at each, the Florida State College, and the Normal
School (colored) at Tallahassee, the work of which we have reason to be proud,
we have nine representatives at the State Normal School at DeFuniak Springs,
two of whom graduated in May with credit to themsleves and to the institution,
and who will doubtless prove of great worth to the educational interests of
Jackson county, and to the State of Florida.
Special Tax Districts.--At present we have three Special Tax School Districts,
all of which have voted the maximum levy of three mills. Sentiment is growing
in favor of Special Tax Districts in this county and if encouragement is given
by school officers and teachers it will not be long before the whole county
will be a Special Tax School District.
Examinations.--I am very much in favor of only one examination a year, this
one to be held about the middle of June. By having the examination at this
time, teachers who are attending the different schools over the State will
be given an opportunity of taking a short review before the examination.
It often happens that the last month spent in schools by those who expect to
take the examination which usually follows the first or second week after
school closes, is spent in reviewing for examination and as a result their
school work and review work at the same time results in failure in either the
final examination at school or the county examination for teacher's certifi-
cate. Furthermore to conduct in large counties the two examinations now
required takes practically a month of the County Superintendent's time which
could be spent more profitably in other lines.
Grading Committees.--I am heartily in favor of one Grading Committee for the
State. With forty-five committees in the State, some rigid, others practically,
aye, criminally lax, there can certainly be no uniformity about the grading
of papers. In some counties it must be difficult to secure a competent com-
mittee on account of scarcity of high grade teachers. One competent committee
would give uniform grading and local causes would no longer influence the
grading of papers to the detriment of the schools of the State.
Teachers' Associations.--Two teachers' associations are held each year. Quesp
tions of importance are discussed at these meetings and much benefit is derived
from them by the teachers and people.
Course of Study.--A course of study was adopted in this county in 1899, but
very little was done toward putting the same into effect till the last two
years. While no course of study can be rigidly adhered to in all of the
schools of the county, it serves as a guide and is of special benefit in the
arrangement of grades of the different schools.
Jackson County High School.--Jackson County High School, located at Marianna,
is in a flourishing condition and is doing a good work for the entire county.
The school is graded as follows: Primary, Intermediate, Grammar and High
Other Schools.--Sneads, Bascom and Graceville schools of three teachers each,
andComfort, Harpers, Greenwood, Friendship and Smyrna schools of two tea-
chers each, are all doing work for their entire respective communities.
Teachers are paid according to grade of certificate and experience except
in the County High School. All schools are required to make an average of
60 per cent of their enrollment.
We enforce as nearly as possible all State and county regulations.
Trusting that two years hence a more favorable report may be submitted, I am
Yours very truly,
W. A. MCRAE,
I beg leave to submit the following report of the condition, and progress of
the public schools of Jefferson county.
Buildings.--Since my last report we have built four large and comfortable
school houses 25xh0 feet, and supplied them with patent desks. Three other
school houses have been enlarged. As fast as our finances will permit, we
are improving all of the school houses in the county. Substituting brick
pillars for wooden blocks for foundations, and ten of them will be painted
Insurance policies have been taken out on sixteen of the most important build-
ings, and in every way the school property is being taken care of and improved.
Finances.--It is with much pleasure that I report a continued improvement
in our school finances. The fact that our financial condition has steadily
improved in spite of the fact that our revenues have been curtailed by the
lowering of the tax assessed for school purposes, from five to four and a
half mills, reflects credit upon our school board for its management of our
school affairs. School script has been at par for the past four years. The
treasurer's report for the month of July showed a balance of $785.00 to the
credit of the school fund.
Assessing the School Tax.--I believe it has been already decided by a court
in this State that the board of county commissioners must assess whatever
tax the school board recommends, within the legal limits. It would seem,
however, that the members-of the school board, who, as a rule are as intelli-
gent, as patriotic, and as good business men, as those composing the board
of county commissioners, and are certainly better informed as to the needs
of the schools, should be the proper persons to direct the assessment of the
school tax. A five mill tax with which to maintain fairly good schools pr6-
vided the fund is judiciously expended. The average tax payer pays his school
tax very cheerfully, realizing that he gets more direct benefit from this
tax than any other he pays.
Teachers.--There is a growing demand in this county for better teachers. We
have a surplus of inexperienced teachers with certificates of a low grade,
but patrons are demanding better and more experienced teachers. Graduates
of the Normal Schools of this State are, as a rule, a great improvement on
teachers without Normal training, and our improved financial condition will
enable us gradually to improve the grade of our teachers by offering better
Grading Committees.--In a former report, I favored a State Grading Commit-
tee. This would give uniformity to the grading, which is impossible under
the present system.
No change, however, is necessary if the law regulating examinations was
strictly carried out. As it is, a second grade certificate in one county is
often the equivalent of a first grade in an adjoining one.
Compulsory Education.--Compulsory education is the logical sequence of the
public school system.
If the State provide school houses, school furniture, books, and a teacher,
those who pay the tax have a right to demand that those for whom these provi-
sions have been made, should be compelled to avail themselves of the oppor-
tunities for education thus provided.
However, I do not believe that at this time public opinion would sustain such
School Terms.--Our schools have terms of from four to eight months, five and
a half being the average for the white schools, the terms of the colored
schools are uniformly four months which is too short, but is the best we can
do with our large negro population and our limited finances.
Educating the Negro,--The more I see of the colored schools the more convinced
I become that this people is far more in need of moral and industrial train-
ing than that of a literary Character. Without this moral training this other
but increases their ability for evil and the present system of the morally
"blind leading the blind" must be followed by the usual consequence.
Concentration of Schools.--This is the only solution of the problem of educat-
ing the children in the rural districts, Good graded schools, further apart,
should take the place of the little neighborhood schools. This would neces-
sitate pupils walking further to school, but would more than compensate for
this by their rapid advancement under the better facilities, made possible
by this concentration. Any attempts however in this direction are met by
the most stubborn resistance of shortsighted parents who study their children
present convenience rather than their permanent improvement.
J. H. GIRARDEAU,
No building or repairing in two years on account of limited funds.
Financial.--Two years ago the School Board was $2,350.00 in debt and now the
debt is $250 00. We have made the change by economizing. Warrants are paid
promptly. County Commissioners are not supposed to study the educational in-
terest of the county and should therefore have no control over it. I think
the limit of village is too low. Some of my people favor higher taxation
and would submit to Special Tax Districts. We have one established this year
and are arranging to establish others. I see no reason why they should not
be generally adopted.
Teachers.--There is marked improvement in our teaching force, due to the in-
fluence of our State Superintendent and the uniform examination. I think the
examination law is all right.
Grading Committees.--I am satisfied with the present system, do not think a
Compulsory Education.--Is very much needed in my county. The limit should
be broad. Some favor it. It would bring a great blessing to church and
We have done some work on the line of concentration with success. Owing to
our limited facilities for travel we cannot do anything in the way of trans-
There is need of closer relationship between the instruction of pupils and
their industrial life, and these subjects should be included in the exam-
J. P. ABBOTT, Supt,
In compliance with your request I sent you this general report of the con-
dition and progress of the schools of Lake County.
Financial.--I shall have to say very frankly that our schools have reached
as high a degree of merit, however moderate that degree may be, as we can ex-
pect with the present constitutional limit of five mills from the county and
one mill from the State. Although values are increasing in some kinds of pro-
perty the assessed valuation of the county is a little lower than it has
been before in several years. On the other hand as the price of living is
higher than it was a few years ago we are having to pay teachers better sala-
ries. These two conditions are of course conflicting. The school funds are
equitably divided for the benefit of the various necessities as it can well
At the end of each year after paying all indebtedness we have a balance in
the treasury but that balance is becoming smaller each year. By drawing on
our surplus we spend a little more than we collect. This process must of un
necessity soon cease.
All our warrants are paid promptly and no discounts are permitted. From
December to April, however, we have to protect warrants by borrowing money.
We get this money at 6 per cent. interest.
Fixing the School Levy.--Our County Commissioners have given us a levy of five
mills and practically speaking we would not be benefitted by changing the
authority of fixing the levy from the Commissioners to the School Board. But
if the maximum fiver mill limit were removed conditions might be different.
Special Tax Districts.--We have in Lake county six Special Tax Districts and
all of them are popular. The compulsory and expensive methods of giving
notices in newspapers rather than by posting tends to prevent their general
adoption in' small districts. Only two districts have been established in the
past two years. The total amount of funds collected by the six districts
last year was $1,577.47.
As to our teaching force I will say that the lack of funds prevents much
improvement. Talent superior to ours will command better salaries elsewhere
or in other work than we can afford to pay.
Grading Committies.--A change in the present system of grading committees for
the examinations is neither necessary or desirable in this county. To establish
a State Committee would be a long step backward. If any county is incompetent
or dishonest the reform which is necessary to promote competency must come
from within, not from without. Each of these conditions will gradually
improve by giving the people opportunity to exercise them under proper direction,
but not by controlling their affairs. By the State Grading Committee:all op-
portunities for improvement would be repressed.
Transportation of Pupils.--The transportation of pupils to central schools
has been tried in this county to only a limited extent. The plan would be
approved if favorable conditions for it existed. At the present time school
facilities might be slightly improved by transportation in a few localities
but the expense would be increased.
School Buildings.--We have purchased and erected in the last two years three
new school buildings at a cost to the county of $825.18, two of these being
for white schools qnd one for colored. To these buildings the patrons con-
tributed much labor which is not counted in the cost above given. We have
in the county several valuable school buildings, all of which are kept in
good repair. It is the aim of the County School Board to keep all build-
ings comfortable though not elegant. Only $85 has been spent on repairs in
the last two years just past. This is the cost of material only. The school
patrons do all the labor.
The best feature of our schools lies in the increased interest on the part
of the parents. This clearly shows itself in a much better attendance of
pupils than in former years. The day of pessimism concerning public schools
is indeed past and we have no fears of its returning.
J. C. COMPTON,
I herein follow the topics and make brief comments according to your valuable
Buildings.--Thirteen new buildings have been erected. The people, as a rule,
have done the work. They have in many localities supplemented the amount ap-
propriated by the Board, and have constructed large, well finished houses.
Many of these schools are in neighborhoods that did not exist five years ago.
Financial.--The school buildings erected have required a large outlay, and
the number of teachers has been increased; but these, with other expenses,
and only a slight increase in the taxes, find our warrants still at par.
It's not difficult to get the people to ask the Commissioners to give the
limit of the legal levy for schools.
People may disturb the County about burdensome taxes for other purposes,
but even Lee County's non-residents, never utter a word against the school
tax required of them.
Special Tax Districts.--Assessing the limit of the law in four of our most
populous sections, including Ft. Myers, Buckingham, Alva and South Alya, is
sufficient evidence to show that a large majority would increase the school
tax. Only two votes are recorded against limit in these four districts.
Lee county is young in age, but up-to-date in progress; and although sparsely
populated in many sections, there will be more sub-districts by the next
report. The cost of creating them, prevents there being more of them organ-
ized. It furnishes a means of interesting more people than any scheme now
Examination Law.--Whatever may be said against examination law, it is the only
sure means of protecting the people against incompetent teachers. When pro!
perly enforced, no social influences, no financial, political or other aids
will displace a valuable teacher for the personal popularity of an incompetent.
The examinations may shut out a few worthy teachers, but saves innocent child-
hood from the cruelest subjection of an itinerant set, that present embellished
diplomas from mushroom institutions. Let us insist on a rigid enforcement
of the law.
A state grading committee could not serve so well as the present system.
We need a well located normal college of the highest grade with expenses re-
duced to such a rate that those who are able to attend a school, can go. This
may be done by turning over our State schools to the counties for high schools,
and using the funds thus saved, as well as those now used for our summer
Associations create an enthusiasm, and helps the teacher to increase the es-
timate of the public for us as the most necessary factor of society. Better
than this, if properly conducted, it shows a teacher his weak spots.
The association in Lee county has been largely attended, and plans for a library,
etc., if completed, will make it a permanent institute.
Compulsory Education.--Compulsory education would work a hardship on a very
large per cent. of the people in a county like Lee, as it is sparsely settled
and many people are poor. It would lessen the personal work and hence the
social value of the average teacher. It would decrease the respect of the
pupil, who is now taught that he is the benefitted one, while under com--
pulsory law he might feel that the State was training him for the- good the
State could get out of him, very much as the Romans.
I think a majority might, by agitation be induced to vote for it because a
very large majority attend faithfully.
High School.--The Lee County High School at Ft. Myers, has received the high-
est compliments for the splendid discipline and faithful class instructions
that caused the average pupil to fall in love with the subjects taught.
The Board wisely provided for a teachers' class during the last two months
of the term, and some of the older pupils, though not able to graduate in
the High School course, were able to secure a teachers' certificate under a
rigid examination law. Most of these, though offered schools, have most
wisely decided to complete the course before teaching.
Bi-monthly examinations and class standing with copy of questions asked, sent
to Superintendent's office at close of every second month, has had much to
do with increasing the average attendance of the year just closing. The
records show more than 30 per cent. increase.
Transportation of pupils has been offered and insisted upon, but the jealousy
of communities, the want of due appreciation of the value of larger schools
and more competent teachers, and poor roads are against us.
Knowledge of the important facts regarding agriculture and domestic life cer-
tainly increases the value of the teacher.
JOS. F. SHANDS,
In compliance with your request, I herewith submit the following report of
the public schools of Leon county, for the two years ending June 30, 1902.
Of Buildings.--Our schools are being taught in good substantial frame build-
ings supplied,with comfortable desks, blackboards, charts, etc. Two new
buildings erected and others repaired, at a cost of $300.00.
Financial.-.-Our school fund at present is in a healthy condition. Two years
ago our indebtedness was about $4,700.00. Since then it has been reduced
less than half that amount. Warrants are paid promptly at full value. I
would favor the levying of taxes for schools being made by the State Board,
I find, from frequent conversation with our citizens, that very few, if any,
would object to an increase in the levy. No Special Tax District in the
Coun- (line omitted)
Of Teachers.--Year by year there is an improvement in our teaching force,
as is shown by the progress of the schools, the improved deportment of the
pupils, and a general desire for longer school terms. The examination law
has improved our best teachers, and while grade of certificate is not a
correct standard, still we find those who give individual interest to the
work of teaching, strive to secure a high grade of certificate.
Our teachers generally attend the Summer Training Schools, but the right
quality, and quantity of public spirit has not yet impressed our teachers
fully, with the importance of such attendance. Some of our teachers have
formed an association, and meet every two weeks, at Leon Academy, Tallahassee.
The Asshciation is fortunate in having for its honored president that efficient,
and enthusiastic educator Prof. Buchholz, of the Florida State College.
I regret the apparent apathy of our teachers, as attested by their non-attendance
on meetings of the association.
Grading Committies.--We desire no change in the grading committee system, The
work of our gradidng committee has always been honestly, impartially and faith-
fully discharged. This county needs no change, but the State Superintendent
is specially fitted by his knowledge of the State, to judge of the wisdom,
or folly of a change.
Compulsory Education.--In my intercourse with our people, I ever find parents,
and children eager to have good schools, I also assume, from our reported
attendance, that there is no need for compulsory educational laws in our
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--Owing to ever chang-
ing population, we have not been able to accomplish much in the way of con-
centration. Our experiments in the transportation of pupils, have not met with
much favor from the general public.
We recognize the need of many factors in the training of our teachers, and a
closer relation between the teachers and pupils but we cannot see clearly that
their agricultural, and other environments should form a feature of Teachers'
Training Schools, and, later, of examinations.
C. W. BANNERMAN,
Supt. Public Instruction.
I herewith submit a brief report of condition of educational affairs in Levy
County, together with a few general recommendations for the betterment of
educational affairs throughout the State.
Buildings.--Within the last two years we have erected five school houses at
a total cost to the county of $2,231.35. This amount does not properly re-
present the full cost of these five buildings as the people, in some instances,
gave liberally of time and money. The true value would approximate $2,700.
We now have projected the erection of four other school houses, that will cost
in the aggregate $800.
Our school houses in the rural districts have been of the box-house kind, but
as necessity requires, we are replacing these with good, substantial frame
We have expended within the bi-ennium just closed $301.78 in repairs. A large
part of this amount has been expended in making our box-houses more comfortable.
During the 14 years of my official connection with the school interests of
Levy County there have been no debts carried over from year to year. We pay
teachers promptly by borrowing money, paying 6 per cent. per annum for the
use of money.
Special Tax Districts.--We now have eight Special Tax Districts, five of which
have been created within the last two years. There is now a proposition up
for the establishment of four others. The opposition that once existed to
this extra taxation has largely been removed by the example of the three
pioneer districts at Bronson, Cedar Key and Morriston. The opinion is now
rapidly gaining that the Special Tax District is the proper and only sure way
by which to secure good teachers and better buildings. Seizing such an oppor-
tunity, the people of Williston gave two years taxes on a 3-mill levy, towards
the building of a modern building, and now can boast of a school unsurpassed
by any in Levy County. The pride of the community had so been stimulated that
a music room, 2hx30, is now under course of erection, the cost of which is
being met entirely by private subscription.
The good effect of these districts might be illustrated in the case of Le-
banon school. Up to three years ago this community had been strug-ling to
maintain a $30 school five months in the year. Around them lay large tracts
of lands, and these were included in the district that was them formed. A
large substantial house was built. A seven months term was given, a $50
teacher employed. From a small box-house to a large frame house; from a $30
teacher to a $VO teacher; from a 5-months to a 7-months term is a big jump
for a remote country school to make within two years--and the votes of a few
men brought about this change.. Probably every school community will sooh
avail itself of this opportunity for better schools.
Teachers.--It would be difficult, if possible, to cite the particular causes
of improvement in our teachers; that there are agencies at work is manifest
to the most casual observer. The esprit ducorps of our body of teachers is
of particular notice, and springs from professional desires. Their ideals
are high standards, rigid and thorough work.
Grading Committees.--So far as our county is concerned, we do not suffer because
of present plan of county grading committees. Instances of cheating are ex-
tremely rare, grading committees fair but rigid, and teachers universally
satisfied. If a change to a State Examining Board should be made a change
in time of holding examinations would be necessary.
Compulsory Education.--That something should be done to raise our daily aver-
age attendance as well as to put more children in school is one of the common-
est remarks among our people. Every man in Levy County who has been heard
to express himself upon this question favors a law requiring parents or guards
ians to send their children to school, Since the average parent does send
66 days in the 100 it follows that all pupils can, without inconvenience,
attend school that many days, and a law requiring that many days attendance
out of a 5.months term not only would not inconvenience the present enrollment,
but would bring into the schools many who make no effort to patronize any
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--Levy County has never
tried the experiment of transportation of pupils. Our Board has this plan
under advisement now, and may enter upon the experiment another year. It is
a business proposition both from the standpoint of finances and good teaching,
and should be put into operation whenever practicable,
Dear Sirt--In reply to your question as to the conditions of the schools in
this county, I beg to submit the following.
Buildings.--We have erected or repaired seven at an average cost of about $100,00
for each house within the time this report covers. The best worth about $250.00
and the worst worth about $40, all neat frame buildings, with good greater In
Finances.--The present condition of the school fund in much better than it was
two years ago. We have on hand now about $600.00 in cash and all warrants
paid. Two years ago we were in debt about $400.00. I think it would be better
for the School Board to make the school levy as they understand the needs of
the schools better than the County Commissioners do. I think it would be wise
to remove the constitutional five mill limit. At present the funds are in-
adequate to maintain the schools properly.
Special Tax E:strict.--Last year we created five Special Tax Districts and
wherever they have been properly tried they have been a success. There was
about $150.00 derived from each. The only mistake that was made was the boundaries
of each was too small, as the expense was as much as it would have taken to cre-
ate a larger one.
Teachers.--There has been some improvement in the teaching force in the county
in the past two years, but not as much as should have been. There are a few
who have attended State Normals and they have been a great help to them. We
can do nothing toward concentration, as the county is so thinly inhabited, I
think it would be more satisfactory to have a State Grading Committee,
Yours very respectfully,
T. E. SHULER, County Superintendent.
I have the honor to submit the following data for your Bi-ennial report:
Buildings and Equipments.--During the past two years, we have erected six
school houses costing $200 apiece, and furnished them at an average cost of
We built six others at a cost of $100 each and furnished them at $50.
Have overhauled, repaired and furnished five more at an aggregate outlay of $400.
Have purchased school lots to the amount of $30, and have had donated twelve
lots together with all appurtenances thereon, one of which is situated in the
town, aggregating the value of $1,200.
Have built a very comfortable three-room house for the colored school in Madison
and furnished at a total cost of $794. Another very good negro school was
built in Hamburg at a cost of $100.
Financial.--We are behind about $2,000, but the taxes still uncollected will
materially lesson the deficit. We pay all obligations promptly each month
through the banks here--paying six per cent. per annum on all warrants from
date of issue until taken up by our treasurer, which he does as fast as he
receives the money.
Extraordinary expenditure for buildings is the cause of our deficit, but we
shall not be able to avoid paying interest for money until we can accumulate
seven or eight thousand dollars surplus, because our schools open in July,
five or six months before we receive any money to pay with.
The schoolyear ought not to open before January if we are expected to do a
The Commissioners have nothing to do with fixing the school levy in the county.
Something ought to be done with the tax limitation. Wo do not get money enough
to run the schools four months.
We are just now trying our first special tax district. If it proves satisfactory,
we expect to keep up the agitation until we get the county covered over.
Teachers.--We have a better teaching force than ever before. The Examination
law of course is the main element in this improvement--but we take particular
pains in the selection of teachers, and try to exercise great caution in as-
signment; for a teacher who might succeed very well in one school would make
a dismal failure in another.
Courtesy and kindness and prompt pay is what we offer for energy, industry and
absolute obedience to our instructions.
Grading Committees.--The present law and the working of the system suits us
exactly--have had no trouble, and have no suggestions to offer.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We have turned over
half the county--Thirty-two schools were changed up so as to make but eighteen.
To the more intelligent, the result is highly satisfactory. The attendance
in these eighteen far exceed that of the original thirty-two. This is due
in part to better houses and better equipment. But I confidently believe
that less than ten per cent. of the children have longer distances to walk
We are trying the transportation of pupils now for the first time in one of
the neighborhoods where it has been impossible to keep a two-thirds attendance.
These pupils, fifteen in number are being hauled four miles to a good school
at a cost of $20 per month.
We have no private and parochial schools in the county.
JOHN A, HUGHES
In accordance with your request I herewith submit the following report of the
condition of our schools.
Buildings,--During the past two years we have erected five new buildings, ranging
in cost from $100 to $1,200.
Most of the expense of the building has been borne by the special tax sub-districts
the people frequently doingthe work themselves, the only cash outlay being for
All of our schools except three or four, are now supplied with good comfortable
Our county high school having outgrown the capacity of our building, it became
necessary to erect a new building for the primary department. This was done
at a cost of $1,200, of this one-third was paid out of the general fund, one-
third out of sub-district fund and one-third by private contribution,
Finances.--Our financial condition is much improved, our debt now being less
than S4 000, or less than half what it was two years ago.
Our teachers never have to discount their warrants. When we have no money in
the treasury we deposit the warrants in the bank, as collateral and borrow
money to pay our teachers.
Our County Commissioners have treated us fairly well, but as a rule we would
much prefer the matter of fixing theamount of levy in th6 hands of the county
school board, with power to make it large enough to meet all demands.
Our people frequently grumble at high taxes, but they rarely object to paying
school tax, as they realize that in that they are making an investment for
their children. A large majority of the sub-districts of our county have
voted a special tax of three mills, and others will do so when they can be
made to properly understand the matter.
During the past two years we have raised by special tax $6,853.90, most of
which has been expended in building repairing and furnishing school houses,
and supplementing teachers salaries.
Many of the districts have added $10 to $15 and some $20 per month to salaries
allowed by the county, and some have extended the term two and three months.
Owing to the increase of salaries and the excellent system of uniform examin-
ations, there has been a very marked improvement in the character of our teachers.
State Grading Committee.--While the present system of grading is very good,
when the committee is carefully and judiciously selected, we know there are
cases where gross injustice has been done.
Owing to these facts we believe that a State committee would be an improve-
ment on our present system.
We need a compulsory educational law, a moderate fine would be all that would
There has been but little done in the way of consolidating schools in this
county, the majority of the people being opposed to any movement in that direction.
We do not see any addition to teachers training schools of so much importance
as some simple and practical bookkeeping to be taught in the country schools.
The following is a brief report of the condition and progress of the schools
in Marion county for the last two years.
Buildings.--On account of scarcity of funds our Board has given nothing for
new buildings or repairs for two years ending June 30, 1902. Consequently
we had no new building during that period:. About $500.00 worth of repairs
were made, all paid for by special districts and private subscriptions.
For the term beginning July 1, 1902, our board has appropriated money for
both new buildings and repairs. Within the last two months we have erected
a new $250 house at Fairfield, a $150,000 house for colored pupils at Bethlehem
and a $2,000.00 annex to the Ocala High School.
At Fairfield the old school house was burned in January and we collected $187.50
insurance which helped to replace it.
At Irvine the Board gave only $50.00 and the generous citizens made up the
At Bethlehem the Board only assisted to the amount of $25.00 and patrons col-
For the annex to the Ocala High School the county gave $1,000.00 and the
Special District $1,050.00. The citizens of Ocala then liberally subscribed
and paid $500.00 to finish the new annex.
School Attendance.--The enrollment and average attendance are increasing each
year. From the outlook now the present term will make the largest percentage
of increase ever made, The Ocala High School opened with 50 pupils more this
term than ever before and made an average of 55 for the first month more than
for the same month last term, its enrollment has now reached 525 and will not
be less than 550 before the end of the term.
While Anthony, Bellview, McIntosh, Peetro and Grahamville, all have more
pupils than the present teaching force can give justice.
The same conditions exists in Howard Academy; with an enrollment of 520 and
Fessenden Academy with an enrollment of 260 and many other colored schools.
Finances.--Our finances now are in a good condition and much credit is due to
the business methods by which our Board has managed them.
It has used every economy to get out of debt and at the same time has been
liberal in whatever seemed absolutely pressing. Our board is composed of three
members who have managed their own affairs successfully, who do not owe a single
debt in their private business and I think this greatly explains the business
method with which they have managed for the schools.
We began the school term thisyear-with a debt of only $500, while two years
ago it was $Ul000.00, four years ago $8000, and six years ago $14,000.
Revenues.--Our main need now is more revenue to lengthen the term, equip
better schools and to employ better teachers, I hope the State Superintendent,
every county superintendent, every school board and every patron who has a
child to educate will petition the legislature to remove the maximum five
mill school levy.
The tax payers of Marion county are begging for the privilege of paying more
school taxes asis shown in the voluntary move and interest in creating special
tax school districts. I think, too, that every pressure possible should be
brought on the legislature to distribute most of the "Indian War Money"
received from the general government between the public schools and the public
Give each $300,000, and proportion the school part among the countiesthe same
as the other state school money is proportioned.
Special School District.--We have twenty-two organized special tax school dis-
tri ts. Sixteen have been created within the last two years.
In the territory of the special districts there are located 25 white and 24
colored schools. It includes one-half of the territory of the county and two'
thirds of the population. All of the district white schools and a number of
the colored schools, with the aid of the district funds are operated from six
to nine months, while the general county term is only five months.
Neatly all of the special districts, supplement the salaries, in order to secure
more proficient teachers.
W. D. CARN,
Supt. Public Instruction,
The buildings are all frame; none have been erected, within the last tvo years.
"Sears" is the largest, it has three stories, contains nine rooms, has a corps
of nine teachers, and a registration of 672 pupils. The building was paid
for out of the "Peabody Fund." Only the primary and intermediate grades are
taught, it is situated in an alley running into the middle of a square, in
an unsanitary location, has not standing room for the scholars, is in bad
repair, and the grand jury has recommended that it be pulled down.
"Russell" is the next important; it is a plain two story structure, with four
rooms, four teachers, and a registration of 450 pupils; it is badly located
on a low imperfectly drained lot in the center of a square, with very little
yard room, and crowded upon three sides by small one story houses. The board
have purchased a fine lot upon the corner of Division and White streets, where
it contemplates putting up a better and larger building, to take the place
"San Carlos" is a large two story building, exclusively for Cubans. The
lower two stories are used as a theater, only the third story being used for
school purposes; there are four teachers, inclusive of a music teacher, and
a registration of 318.
"Douglas Negro" as a beautiful roomy yard, in a good healthy location, but
the building which is a rickety two story affair of five rooms, is a miserable
travesty upon architecture, not even fit for a goat shanty. There are five
teachers, and a registration of 293.
"Monroe" Negro is a rented building with four teachers, four rooms, and a
registration of 293.
Largo and Matecumbe which are upon outlying islands, have each two one room
school houses, with one teacher to two houses, each teacher teaches two schools
for four months each, and combines the two in annual report, as taught 160
days, many pupils attending both schools. They have a registration respectively
of 17 and 19.
The Financial Condition.--Is bad, the school fund being in debt $3,012.15.
This condition of affairs, is caused by the extremely low assessment of the
property of the county, the total amount assessed for personal and real,
being only $1,713,215.00; the amount collected from the county school levy
being $8,771.58; the entire amount collected for school purposes, from all
sources, being $11,423.27, which amount is just about enough to pay the run-
ning expenses of the schools without taking into consideration repairs, in-
surance, buildings, lots and numerous other expenses.
School Levy.--When the law of the State constituted the school board "bodies
corporate," with all the powers belonging to such bodies, it pre-supposed
an amount of intelligence, necessary to carry out such powers; the proposition
for the School Board to levy the taxes needed by the county commissioners for
county expenses would be just as reasonable and equally idiotic.
Five Mill Tax.--The 5-mill tax should not be repealed, for we might get some-
thing worse, but it should be so amended, that it should allow the county super-
intendent, with the State Superintendent, to assess 6 mills as the limit for
the running expenses of the schools, and when needed an additional 4 mills,
to furnish a fund for purchasing sites andbuilding school houses. The first
requisite for having a good system of county schools, is to have good build-
ings, and in order to have them, we must have money; the people in order to
vote money for any purpose must be cajoled. Theoretically, they favor taxation
for educational purposes, but practically, they will evade taxation for any
purpose, whenever they can.
Special Districts.--(line omitted) but complicate the county school systems, with,
out adding anything to the cause of education. It is much better to have all county
school matters in the hands of the board of public instruction.
Teachers.--There seems to be some little change for the better, which I attribute
mainly to the teachers meetings, which are required to be held for one hour, every
Friday evening. I think that the law should be so changed, that teachers should
be nominated to the board by the superintendent, and in event of any failure to
appoint, the State Superintendent should decide.
The Examination Law.--in my opinion, fails to meet the exigencies of the teachers
requirements. I believe that all school teachers in the State, both public and
private, should be required to take the uniform examinations, but, after the public
school teacher has taken one examination, I think it would be well to leave the
matter optional with the teacher, whether to take the examination, or the State
Normal School summer course. The associations would be the best, and the teachers
seeking after knowledge, could drink directly from the fountainhead.
State Grading Committee.--In importance, the method of examination is tb be placed
before that of the Grading Committee. There is no doubt that amongst the examinees
of every county, there are some who, if they possibly can, will resort to unfair
means, to accomplish their ends; in order to prevent this they should be put on
honor, and every one placed at a separate flat-top skeleton table, in a large open
room, at sufficient distance from each other to prevent communication, and be
always under the eyes of the Superintendent, who should never leave the room.
The Grading Committees are the juries sitting upon the qualifications of examinees,
and, as they in turn, will be subject to examination by these same examinees, should
they succeed in passing the examinations, they have a human inclination to do unto
others as they would be done by, hence, many receive certificates, who are not
entitled to them. The teachers of a county should be disqualified by law, from
serving on grading committees; the papers should be sent to a central grading
committee, at Tallahassee, who would know nothing whatever of any of the examines,
Compulsory Education.--A compulsory education law, is all right in theory, but to
be made practical and effective, there must first be a law requiring all counties
to provide good and suitable school houses; there is not school room enough pro-
vided in any single county in the State, for much more than one half of the school
Concentration of Schools.--Is much better where practicable, as it would doubtless
provide a better class of teachers, with better schools and facilities but the
proposition to transport school children, like so many packages of merchandise,
is to say the least very unwise; the forced mixed association and bodily contact,
which it would be impossible to avoid, had best be prevented,
Industrial Schools.--All public schools should be industrial, the aim of the
public school is to make honest, capable, useful citizens of all of the public
school children; we desire no frills and furbelows in the education of our
little ones, they should be so brought up, that when brought face to face
with real life, they should be thoroughly equipped, to successfully grapple
with its practical conditions.
J. V. HARRIS, M.D.
Superintendent of Schools.
In response to your request, I respectfully submit the following report of
the school work and conditions in this county for the last two years:
Buildings.--Within the period named we have erected two small frame buildings,
in rural districts, at an aggregate cost of $348.00. We now own buildings to
accommodate 38 of the 41 white, and 10 of the colored schools of the county.
Most of these buildings are in very good condition and comfortable, while
others are in need of repairs, which we have decided to make as speedily as
the state of finances will permit.
Finances.--Our finances are inadequate. The County Commissioners have cheer-
fully given us the maximum levy of five mills, but it has only been by the
rigid exercise of questionable economy we have carried our work along.
Teachers.--We have experienced great difficulty in securing teachers to supply
our schools. Especially was it the case the last term, when some of our rural
schools could not be opened at all, and some others could only be opened a
part of the term by waiting until a teacher could finish a term at one school
and be appointed to another. This arrangement proves very unsatisfactory, as
the date of the second appointment comes at a season when the larger pupils,
who most need to attend the school, are required at home to work on the farm
and are thus deprived of all its benefits.
Some of the teachers employed in this county will compare favorably with those
of any other county in the State. Many others are young ladies who, by com-
mendable perseverance, have so far mastered the studies of their district
schools as to enable them to secure a second or third grade teacher's cer-
tificate, but, though ambitious and enthusiastic, having neither experience
or other training in the work, are unable to render the most desirable service.
The short term for which they are employed, and the small salary they receive
does not afford them means, or encourage the outlay, for better preparation.
School Warrants.--Our school warrants are kept at par. We have an arrangement
with the First National Bank at Fernandina, whereby our warrants are cashed
upon presentation without discount, the Board paying interest on the same from
the date they are cashed until paid.
Sub-Districts.--We have but one sub-district, (the city of Fernandina) which
has been in operation three years and has proven very satisfactory. Conditions
at present do not favor the creation of other districts in the county. There
are two schools in the Fernandina sub-district, one for whites, and one for
negroes. The millage voted is 2 mills. The total amount of the levy is
$1,636.99, which enables us to extend the time of these schools two months
beyond the regular term.
School Term.--The regular term of our schools is five months.
Strike Out the Five Mill Clause.--It is very evident that so long as we are
confined within the present limits of our resources we can not raise our
schools to that degree of efficiency demanded at the present time. The five
mill clause may have served its purpose at the time of its adoption, but is
wholely inadequate to our present needs,
C. A. SNOWBALL,
A school house has just been completed at Sanford; cost $12,000. Also one at
Clear Lake; cost $400.
Finances.--Improvement in our financial condition is evidenced by somewhat
higher salaries for teachers, and large surplus funds. Warrants are paid
promptly and no discount.
We are still of the opinion that the school board should have the fixing of
th@ school levy, although our County Commissioners grant us the maximum
pillage, and would grant it if the maximum were eight mills, as it should be.
A different set of commissioners might not do so well. Our people generally
favor a higher school tax.
Special Tax District,--Special Tax Districts have increased four during the
last two years, showing slowly increasing popularity. The amount raised
during the present year will be about $3,000.
Teachers.--There has been improvement in the qualifications and work of our
teaching force, brought about mainly by the efficient work at the Summer and
other Training Schools.
State Grading Committee.--No change in the system is desirable unless we can
be assured that the change will not be jumping out of the frying pan into the
fire, which a change to a State Examining Board would be.
Compulsory Education.--I do not think a compulsory educational law is practi-
cable, especially in the sparsely settled parts of the State. It might do
well in the cities and towns. Many of our people are in favor of compulsory
Transportation of Pupils.--We have made a small beginning this term (1902-3)
and find it to work well so far.
Industrial Instruction.--Nine-tenths, probably, of the patrons of our schools
are engaged'in farming, trucking, orange growing, cattle raising and other
industrial pursuits. The children will follow the occupations of their fathers.
They should leave the schools with an education fitting them for their life's
work. They do not get that practical education at present. It is therefore
the duty of the State authorities to attendant once to a matter which will do
more to promote the prosperity and happiness of our people than knowledge of
any other kind--certainly much more than a knowledge of Latin, Astronomy,
Psychology, etc., however important these studies may be in their places.
W. B. LYNCH,
Supt. Orange County.
Complying with your request for a brief report respecting the school work of
this county, I beg to submit the following:
Buildings.--Within the last two years we have expended about one hundred and
eighty-five dollars ($18$.00) for repairs; and about one hundred and eighty
dollars ($180.00) on new buildings. But as some of these latter are still
in process of erection, the afore-mentioned amount does not represent their
total cost or value.
It is the purpose of our Board to build other school houses this fall.
Financial.--Two years ago (July 1, 1900) the treasurer's report showed cash
on hand, in the general school fund $1,996,84; his report (July 1, 1902)
this year shows cash on hand in the general school fund $4,11l.0.--Warrants
on this fund are always paid promptly.
1he treasurer's report July 1, 1900, showed cash on hand in the sub-district
funds $2.73; his report July 1, this year (1902) shows cash on hand in special
tax funds $198.98. It is but fair to state that two years ago we had but one
school sub-district. This last named amount ($198.98) represents the balance
on hand in two special tax districts.--Holders of warrants on these special
funds have sometimes had to wait a short while for payment of same; but
warrants are always paid in full.
We have recently established two other special tax districts.
Our County School Levy.--Our Commissioners have always granted us the full five
mill levy. I do not see therefore, that a mere change of authority in the
matter of ordering levies would improve or alter financial conditions in this
Constitutional Limitation of Couty Levy.--Any effort to extend the Constitu-
tional maximum limit beyond five mills would meet withsome opposition, in all
probability; but it is reasonable to believe that a majority of the more
progressive element of the people of the county would favor fixing the Con-
stitutional maximum levy at six or seven mills, thereby securing to their children
greater comfort in the way of school houses and school furniture,--to say nothing
of the better grade of work that teachers would be enabled to accomplish.
Teachers.--There has been some improvement in the qualifications of teachers
for the last two years, but we can not claim so marked an advancement as we
wish we might. Longer terms, larger salaries, and better appliances, would
contribute much toward removing the obstacles that now hinder the progress
Grading Committees.--The law upon this subject is, possibly, not without fault;
but what alteration should be made in it I am not prepared to suggest. If,
however, I were to make a suggestion at all in the matter, it would be to
have a committee for each judicial circuit instead of a committee for the State
Compulsory Education.--I am compelled to believe that the time has come when
for the sake of the child and the good of the country, compulsory education,
within proper limitations, is desirable.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--This is a matter with
which we are experimenting this term, for the first time.
Relations Between the Teaching of Pupils and Their Environments.--I am em-
phatically of the opinion that this subject should be made a feature of the
training schools for teachers, whether or not it should ever enter into the
matter of examinations.
W. B. HINTON,
The following is a brief history of the schools of Pasco county for the last
two years ending June 30, 1902.
Building.--The buildings are wooden structures ranging in price from fifty
dollars to four thousand. In the rural districts, the material is purchased
out of the special taxes and the patrons do the work free of the cost of labor.
They are, as a rule, comfortable and well seated, and in the special tax dis-
tricts are kept in a state of good repair. Building and repairing is paid for
out of special taxes. We have one new building and two more being erected.
New building two hundred dollars, repairs one hundred and fifty dollars.
Financial.--The board is in debt. Interest is hard to pay. Indebtedness
seems harder and it has been made to feel more burdensome by the defalcation
of the collector who proceeded the present incumbent, which of course in-
creased the indebtedness. It was the second defalcation during my term of
office. The board is not worrying over the inevitable, the increased indebt-
edness is not a reflection on their financial ability or prudence as ordinary
business men and when the Legislature gives the board the right to assess and
levy the school tax, also check up the collector and call him to an accounting,
there will be that safeguard thrown around the school fund that does not exist
and the children's right will be better secured. Our warrants find a ready
sale at one per cent premium.
Strike Out 5-Mill Limit.--Let the next legislature give us a constitutional
amendment striking out the $5-mill clause in the Constitution and I am sure
Pasco will endorse it with a solid vote, there may be a few ignoramuses
hanging on to the tail of progress, who may think that as long as ignorance
is bliss 'tis folly to be wise, and vote against the measure.
Special Tax.--The special tax is a blessing for the children. It gives books,
comfortable seats, good desks, builds school houses, tears down the old shutters,
and puts in sash, chinks the cracks, lengthens the term and gives that progress
in the schools that we could not have without it. There is a three mill tax,
the maximum, voted in every school district in the county except two, and it
will be voted in those during the year--both anxious for it. The patrons who
see the benefit of it, and do not vote for it will never be awakened to a
sense of their responsibility until Gabriel sounds his little horn.
Teachers.--The uniform examinations are developing the teachers into spheres
of larger usefulness in the school room and neighborhood in which they teach.
I am in favor of the Summer Training School, it has in thib county, proved
an inspiration to the teachers to put forth a greater effort to attain the
required proficiency. Give them to us annually in the interest of the children
as well as the teachers. The progress of the teachers of this county is highly
Compulsory Education.--Give us money to educate the children that now attend
school before we face an unwilling attendance. In fact, I do not think we
need it in this county, we have about thirteen hundred children in the county
(I refer to white) with over one thousand in the public schools, St. Leo
College of St. Leo, well attended; Holy Name Academy San Antonio, with a fine
enrollment. This leaves but a small per cent of the children out of school
and the larger part of them are in thickly settled neighborhoods. There is
the negro, they pay six polls out of about one thousand legally subject to the
tax and the collector says they pay less than thirty dollars on real and per-
sonal property. Last year the board paid fse hundred and sixty dollars to
negro teachers and with the compulsory educational law we could easily increase
it to fifteen hundred dollars, and thereby givehim a better preparation to
carry into effect and execute the crimes they find pleasure in perpetrating
on their white benefactors. Let's educate the white children that will go
to school, before we take up the indifferent and negroes.
High Schools.--We have a good progressive high school with an eight months
term and a corps of teachers, just up to date and striving to keep abreast
with the best in the State. Of course, it is hardly necessary to mention
this, as it is expected of the most backwood counties, but I want to give
notice that we will soon be in a position to ask for a State school, with
two scholarships from each county. I believe that is the usual order of
things along the educational lines.
Grading Committees.--I am afraid of a change, unless I knew how and by whom
the committee would be selected. Too much favoritism might be shown and that
to the injury of the cause. If the State Superintendent is to select the
committee, I would say a State committee with an annual salary and to be
appointed every two years.
D. 0. THRASHER,
Complying with your instructions I have the honor to submit the following
Buildings.--Since the organization of special tax districts,a new impetus
has been given this interest.
As a result there have been built in the towns of Bartow Lakeland and Winter
Haven, respectively, very creditable buildings at a cost of $22,850.00. In
the two first named these buildings are of brick--the one in Bartow on the
lot of Summerlin Institute and designed especially for the high school de-
In the rural districts many buildings have undergone needed repairs, and, as
a class, are better than ever in the history of the county.
Financial,--Finding an indebtedness against the school fund of $8,S40.00,
the present administration has been somewhat hindered in its efforts, however,
warrants are at par and promptly paid. While this sum has been met and the
term extended one month for the present year, yet provision had to be made
for a deficit.
Too much stress can not be given the necessity of permitting the School
Board to manage the levy for school purposes. If some would-beand false econ-
omist on the board of county commissioners was so inclined, great injury might
be done the cause.
After a canvass of public sentiment, I make no hesitation in saying this county
would vote for an increased levy for school purposes. Under existing conditions
I feel it necessary for further progress.
Special Tax Districts.--These are proving a success. There are now petitions
waiting the action of the board.
Teachers.--The result of our June examination evidences a very gratifying im-
provement in the matter of the qualification of our teachers.--Many procuring
higher grade certificates and all making higher averages,
There is a manifest desire for better training as shown in the number attend-
ing training schools during summer just closing.
While we have to maintain many schools with small salaries, yet from their
meager earnings they are taking advantage of every possible opportunity for
Grading Committees.--I see no necessity for a change in the present system.
No complaint has arisen in our county during my term of service.
Compulsory Education.--I am not prepared to recommend this. The increased
enrollment in many sections and the general average, as the result of faithful
effort on the part of the teachers, supervisors and school officials, demon-
strates that the people may be aroused to the interest involved and send their
children, even though it is at a great inconvenience in many instances.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--This system is taking
well. It has only been tried in few districts, but is meeting such favor as
will warrant greater efforts in the future,
Permit me to suggest that it would be well to have a State uniform course of
study for the High Schools of the counties, and diplomas issued upon examin-
ation from questions prepared by the State. Offering as an incentive to com-
plete the course, a certificate to teach in the county to any holder of a
diploma thus obtained.
Necessity of Relating Instruction to Environment.--This is evident in many
teachers. I certainly think it should be made a feature of training schools
and of examinations.
S. S. NIBLACK,
In compliance with your request I herewith submit the following:
Five new buildings have been erected within the past two years at a cost of
about $700, much of the labor having been performed by the patrons without
cost to the county.
Financial.--Upon taking office in January, 1901, we found a debt ofabout
$2,000 and at the close of the scholastic year a slight debt remained. By a
careful comparison it was seen that the school funds were being very unevenly
distributed over the county, the anount spent annually, per pupil enrolled,
in the white schools ranging from $4 to $1l and the contrast in the colored
schools was almost equally as great. Our board set about evening up things
a little and in so doing slightly increased the expenditures. This together
with a decline in the assessed valuation of the property which cut off some
of our revenues, left us at the close of the scholastic year ending June 30,
1902, with an increased debt.
Teachers.--In his last report to you my predecessor in office stated that the
ability of our teachers seemed to be on the decline, that the last year of his
official term he issued more third grade certificates than in any previous
year. Our board, it seems to me, handled this matter wisely. They placed a
limit on the amount of salary paid third grade teachers and this together with
a few good teachers' institutes has brought about a change and I now feel
justified in saying that Putnam county has a strong and earnest band of teachers.
State Grading Committee.--We believe a State Grading Committee would be an im-
Remove Five-Mill Limit.--Our people are ready for a higher school tax and the
five-mill limit should be removed.
Superintendent and Board.--I am in favor of clothing the county superintendent
with such power as will entitle him to be called superintendent or doing away
with the title altogether and simply calling him secretary of the school
If we are to continue to have school boards, I would suggest that they meet
once in two months. Unless convened inspecial session by the secretary of the
board and that the number of members be doubled so that every part of the county
may be well represented. This would add no extra cost and would enable each
member to visit and study the needs of the schools within his district.
J. D. COTTINGHAM,
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
In compliance with your request, I herewith submit the following report of
the public schools of St. Johns county for the two years ending June 30, 1902:
Financial.--The amount of outstanding warrants has been increasing for the
past ten years at the rate of about $1,000 annually. Our warrants are protected
by arrangement with the bank. They are cashed at face value. We pay 8 per
cent per annum on warrants held by the bank a year or over, and 2 per cent on
those redeemed within a year. Amount of outstanding warrants June 30, 1901,
was $9,106. The board with a determination to reduce this indebtedness,
shortened the school term for 1901-1902 from seven months in the country, and
eight in the city, to six in the entire county. The city schools, however,
enjoyed the usual eight months term, as the result of voluntary contributions
by tax payers and citizens, $1,640 being the amount contributed. The amount
of outstanding warrants on June 30, 1902 was $7,388. Upon petition from the
taxpayers, representing more than seven-eighths of the entire taxable property
of the county, the board of county commissioners, at their last meeting, by
unanimous vote, assumed the entire indebtedness of the school board, and to
that end, ordered issuance of eight $1,000 warrants bearing 5 per cent in-
terest, and provided for the payment of this debt, at the rate of $1,000 an-
nually, by paying an extra tax of one half mill. Hence the board begins the
new school year on a cash basis. This is encouraging, but would be much mo=e
so were it not for the knowledge of the fact that, under the most economical
system, with poorly paid teachers, and unpainted school houses, the annual
cost of operating schools is $16,000, while the total revenue for school
purposes is but $15,000. At their regular meeting in March last, the board
of county commissioners were petitioned by the board of public instruction,
to assume the payment of the Treasurer's commissions for handling school funds,
this was very readily agreed to, thereby saving to the school fund about $300
annually, This, and other similar acts on the part of the board of county
commissioners, is conclusive evidence that the two boards are as they should
be, upon educational matters.
In the interest of education of the State, I think the board of public in-
struction should have the power to fix the levy for school purposes.
Special Tax Districts.--I think the special tax district system good to
bridge over until that five mill educational obstruction can be eliminated
from the constitution. I do not think it gives satisfactory permanent relief
to any county as a school district. It provides means of relief to certain
sections in each county, more in some than in others, but not sufficiently
general to carry out the true principles of the public school system.
Teachers.--Since the introduction of the State uniform examination, there has
been a marked improvement in the qualification of teachers, and consequently
improvement in our schools. This is the result of preparation for examination,
which is also preparation for teaching. County teachers' Institutes, when
conducted by skilled instructors, and attendance of resident teachers made
a prerequisite to teaching, have done much to advance the proficiency of
teachers. State Normals, Summer Training Schools, and Teachers' Associations,
will also contribute their proportionate share in elevating the standard of
teachers, and schools, when there is sufficient fund provided for teachers
salaries to warrant the enactment of a law making teachers attendance upon
these institutions a prerequisite to examinations. Until this is done, in
my judgment, the general good derived will continue to be incommensurate with
Grading Committees.--In my opinion, no change is necessary in the present
system. I am opposed to a State examining board.
Compulsory Education.--I am in favor of a law requiring children between the
ages of eight and fourteen years to attend, private or public school, at least
four months in each year, provided, a school is operated within easy access
say two miles, with good roads. There are other conditions, local in nature,
which should be left discretionary with the county superintendent.
Concentration of Schools.--I believe there is economy, and educational ad-
vantages, in concentration of schools. I think the people of my county are
undecided upon this question, but are willing to try it. We have not succeeded
in bringing together more than two schools, and they so small that one teacher
was sufficient, so the principal advantages, viz: the division of classes,
and longer recitation periods, were not felt. In two instances, we have trans-
ported pupils four miles, in order to avoid the necessity of establishing
additional schools. I hope to see, in the near future, great improvement in
our rural schools under this system.
New Buildings.--Within the past two years the board has built four school
houses, at an aggregate cost of $2,000, of which, patrons contributed about
50 per cent. School buildings in rural districts, cost from $100 to $1,200.
All are comfortably heated, and nearly all are supplied with patent desks.
Two new schools have been established.
W. S. M. PINKHAM,
SANTAL ROSA COUNTY
In compliance with your request I submit the following for your biennial re-
port for 1901-2:
Buildings.--Since last report five new buildings have been erected, repairs
made and desks supplied to others when necessary.
All school houses owned and erected by Board of Public Instruction are sub-
stantial frame structures, seated with modern patent desks, and for most part
well supplied with black-boards.
Finances.--The financial condition of School Fund is good--(see Annual Re-
port 1901-2). Warrants are at all times worth face value. When funds from
State or county are not on hand, money is borrowed to meet each issue of war-
While the financial condition of the county school Fund is good, not over-
drawn, the fund is inadequate to meet the demands and needs of longer terms,
better teachers, more school buildings, furniture, appliances, maps, libraries,
etc. The Constitutional limit of five mills should be removed, (but a limit
should be fixed) and allow each county through its County School Board to fix
the county levy for school purposes. I believe my people would favor more
tax for schools. Some clamor for it, and others are voting for Special Tax
districts There are demands for "a longer term," "a better teacher," "a
better house," "a new house," "some patent desks," "some more seats," "a
school library," "a big dictionary for our school" made almost every day
at this office.
County High School.--I hope that the next Legislature will enact a law creat-
ing a County High School, and where necessary provide in part at least for
its maintainance, in every county in the State,--create a uniform course of
study. In my humble opinion Florida needs a thorough good high school in
every county which should be a stepping stone from the district school to
the university,--which should take the place of all our little sectional
schools, too largely dominated by local influences.
Special Tax Districts.--have not been tried, are just organized, hence no
particular report can be made at this time.
Teachers.--There is continued improvement in our teaching force. As stated
previously, the examination law, the Normal school, summer schools, State and
county associations, and prompt payments are all factors in this progress.
Grading Committees.--I think do their work fairly well and honestly. Some
local (county)influences could be removed by abolishing a committee for each
county, and creating one for the entire State, or divide the State into dis-
tricts, corresponding to our judicial circuits, and have a grading committee
for each district. We have competent teachers to do the work of grading.
Compulsory Education.--A law of compulsory attendance in schools is needed.
We have to some extent solved the problem of attendance by making the school
and its environments attractive. Most children, especially those in rural
districts, like to go to school, and with something to stimulate parents
practically all of our youth would attend schools.
Exempt those mentally and physically feeble those under eight and over six-
teen years of age; children of invalid parents dependent upon their children
for'support. I believe that a large majority of the progressive element of
my people favor compulsory attendance on schools, either public or private.
Thanking you for valuable assistance and suggestions and wishing that our
labors and efforts may result in much good for the cause for which we labor,
Yours very respectfully,
E. L. MCDANIEL.
SUMTER COUNTY.--I herewith submit my bi-ennial report for the past two years.
Buildings.--In the past two years we have built three new school houses at
a cost of about $100 each. The board furnishing the material, and patrons
doing the work. The board purchased a store building at a cost of $300 and
will convert this into a school house for Center Hill.
The board has done but little repairing on account of being short of funds.
Financial.--Our warrants are as good as gold, for the past year we have been
in funds and have not been forced to pay the bank (with which we have an
agreement to pay all school warrants should we be out of funds) one cent
of interest. We have gradually grown stronger financially.
School Levy.--Our commissioners have come to our wants cheerfully and levied
a five mill tax. We want no change on this line.
Special Tax District.--We have established two subschool districts. I can-
not say how they will work as yet.
Teachers.--I see a marked improvement in the qualification and character of
the teaching force of our county. Sometimes we find material that don't (sic)
work very well and we make some place of exit.
Compulsory Education.--We need such a law. This would have to be brought about
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--The board discussed
this and at one time was on the verge of concentrating about a half dozen
schools and carrying the pupils, but I believe the matter will not be carried
out for the present, at least.
Teachers.--We usually have nearly enough of white teachers to supply our schools,
but the negroes get 10 months work in the year.
Teachers' salaries range from $25.00 to $50,00, based as nearly as possible on the
following points: (1) Grade; (2) Size of school; (3) The teaching force or
power of the teacher.
County Institutes.-- We hold regular county institutes. These institutes are fairly
well attended, and good work is being done along these lines.
High School.--The Board has established a high school at Webster to cost about $1,200
or $1,500. The building is now in course of construction, and we hope to be able to
open by October.
J. A. JONES,
Dear Sir:-- In compliance with your request for a general report of the school work,
conditions, etc., I have the honor of submitting the following:
Buildings.--We have built seven new school houses within the past two years, six
of them were ceiled, two painted, two furnished with patent desks, two with
hyloplate blackboards and heaters have been furnished in all winter schools. We
have two other houses under course of construction. An addition was built to
Suwannee High School of two large rooms costing $1,000 and $700 respectively,
which amounts were raised by subscription from the people of the town.
Our board requires a warranty deed to all new school sites and great care is taken
in locating them. All deeds are promptly recorded before any work is begun on the
new houses. We are using brick piers under each house and putting in a good flue
when the house is built. First class lumber is used and an experienced carpenter
is employed to do the work. We have only one log school house in the county.
Financial.--The financial condition is very good. We have made an arrangement
with the bank to cash all warrants at par, and the board allows seven per cent
per annum for the length of time the bank holds the warrants. The County
Treasurer is requested to take them up as soon as he receives funds to do so.
By close economy we manage to run our schools and cash all warrants by close
of the scholarship year, and have a small balance to carry over.
The constitutional five mill limit should be removed, and the Board of Public
Instruction given the right to fix the levy for each successive year. The
law should fix the minimum at five mills and the maximum ten. We have no
trouble with County Commissioners in making the levy, but why such distrust
is shown, by not allowing the school board to manage its own affairs, I am
at a loss to see.
While we can by close economy manage to run our schools in some kind of way,
we are forced to say, that the time is now upon us, when we must have more
money, for modern buildings and experienced, progressive teachers are greatly
in demand. If Suwannee County has not the money to build such houses as are
in keeping with the times, and to employ such talent as is needed, other
counties which are more fortunate than ours will take the lead. This our
representatives and senator will not allow if it is in their power to prevent.
Our progressive people are ready to pay twice their present amount of school
taxes, and will hail with delight a change in the law.
Special Tax Districts.--We have been operating four special tax districts,
which are very popular in the territory where established. The amount raised
in them for the past two years is $3,489.36. This year four new ones have
been established and a three mill levy has been recommended from each of the
new districts. I think about two more will be created in a very short time.
Our people as a whole like the special tax district plan, as this seems at
present the only way to increase their school tax. There is some opposition
to paying the County Treasurer a commission for handling these funds.
Teachers.--We are very much indebted to our teachers for the increased interest
in school affairs. We feel proud of all of our teachers and feel that our
efforts would be in vain if it were not that we have such a noble corps of
teachers who are always willing and ready to obey any reasonable demand made
by the School Board and Superintendent. All of our local boards of Special
Tax District Trustees are in perfect harmony with the Board of Public In-
struction and Superintendent.
Some of our teachers attend Summer Normals each year. The most of our white
teachers hold first grade certificates, while the most of the colored hold
second grade. Some of our teachers subscribe for educational journals and
do quite a good deal of reading.
Salaries.--The salaries of teachers are based upon grade of certificate and
Examination Law.--The present system is very good and works admirably in my
county. No change is desired. We are opposed to a State Grading Committee.
If evils exist, let them be corrected at home. To favor a State Grading Com-
mittee is to say that we are unable to manage successfully our own affairs,
which is not the case. The law is good and strong enough if those vested
with authority will do their duty. And if they will not, then they should
be removed from office.
Compulsory Education.--The people of this county favor a reasonable compul-
sory education law, and many of them think they should be compelled to send
their children at least 60 days each year, unless providentially hindered by
sickness. This would be a good law, I believe.
Concentration of Schools,--We have consolidated six small schools, making
three better ones. When we first began the work many of our people opposed
the plan, and some do yet where the consolidation has been effected. But a
majority favor consolidation, since it has been done. We always give them
a better school building, patent desks, Hyloplate blackboards, and arrange
the seats to suit size of pupils. Our aim is not more schools, but better
ones. In those three instances where we have consolidated you could not get
the people to change back to the old way without much trouble. We are not
ready for the transportation of pupils yet.
Industrial Education.--Pupils should be taught the necessity of a thorough
knowledge of agriculture. There should be a prescribed practical course
taught in each of the Summer Normal Schools. After which teachers should be
required to pass an examination on this subject. Drawing should be made com-
pulsory in all of our schools.
Members of School Boards.--All members of school boards should be elected
for a term of four years instead of two.
Superintendents.--County Superintendents should be given more power. As it
is, he is only the servant of the board. And in many instances of a board
that does not know his real value to the schools of his county. His salary
should be fixed by the State Superintendent for he is in a better position
to know his worth and the ability of his county to pay him a reasonable salary
for his services.
J. E. WOOD,
In accordance with your request, I herewith transmit to you a report of the
progress and condition of the schools of this county for the past two years.
Buildings.--During the time above mentioned there have been erected three
new buildings only. For buildings and repairs there has been about $500.00
expended. They are very good cheap buildings.
Financial Condition.--There is now outstanding $776.98; two years ago there
was $755.70, outstanding.
The Board made arrangements to have all warrants cashed at par. While the
property of the county has increased in value, the teachers have been paid
better salaries, and more schools have been taught.
In my opinion, the School Board has the right to say what the levy for school
purposes should be; yet it would be better if the law was more explicit.
Therefore, I think that a change is necessary.
I think the maximum limit is too low for school levy; that it would be better
for the advancement of education to have the maximum# greater, but cannot say
that the majority of the people would favor it.
Special Tax District.--We have no special tax districts in our county; yet
I'believe I favor them unless the five mill limit were removed.
Teachers.--The teachers, I am glad to say, are improving in power and influence.
The present examination law is very good to determine the scholarship of the
teacher, which is very important of course.
State Normals and summer schools have not been of much benefit to our teachers,
as the opportunities to attend has been the most of the time unfavorable.
The State and County Associations have done more for the improvement of the
teachers than anything else.
Grading Committee.--I think that a State Examining Board would be more satis-
factory. I believe the majority of the people favor a change to that effect.
Compulsory Education.--A law of this kind would be a great benefit to the
children, as there are so many parents too illiterate to see the importance
of sending their children to school. I do not see that any limitations could
be made, without rendering the law ineffectual somewhat, except for provi-
The majority of the people, I believe, at this time would oppose such a law;
yet there are a great many who favor it.
Concentration of Schools.--There has been nothing done in this county in the
way of concentration of schools and transportation of pupils; yet I approve
of it to some extent. Under the existing state of affairs the attendance at
each school is small. Larger schools would be more interesting to teachers
land pupils. As to the expense, I believe it would cost.more than to have
schools convenient to all pupils. The people here want schools as near as
possible to their homes.
I think there should be a closer relationship between the literary training
of pupils and their agricultural, and other environments. Therefore, it
would be well if the teachers were trained on this line, and later, for it
to be made a part ofthe regular examinations.
Yours very truly,
W. A. HENDRY
In accordance with your request the following report is respectfully submitted:
Financial.--In December, 1900, our predecessors were compelled to borrow
money for the payment of teachers' salaries. In January, 1901, when the
present Board came into office, old warrants unpaid to the amount of about
$2,000.00, and an empty treasury faced them. However, by wise and judicial
management only $833.00, old warrants, are now outstanding; $33.00 of this
amount will be paid at our next meeting.
The balance in treasury at our last meeting, August 5th, was $5,353.35 in
the general fund, and about $2,100.00 to the credit of the various Special
Tax Districts. All warrants are paid in cash. The above result has been
accomplished without lowering salaries of teachers or shortening the terms
of schools to a material extent.
Our aim and desire is not to lay up a large balance in the treasury if we
could, but to place the county school finances on a firm basis, where we will
not be compelled each year to borrow funds to meet current expenses.
Constitutional Limit of Five Mills.--It is needless for me to say that the pro-
gressive element of our county favor its abolishment. It is absolutely necessary
if we make real progress that more money be placed at the School Board's disposal.
The Special Tax School District has partially filled the breach. Our County
Commissioners have without personal solicitation made the five mill levy.
Special Tax Districts.--At this time we have twenty Special Tax Districts.
The tax thereby collected increases the school revenue about $7,000.00. The
trustees of these districts virtually make the assignments of teachers for
their respective schools as in every instance the past year our board rati-
fied their recommendations.
These districts are popular with us and since the adoption of the first
district some years ago, only one has ever failed to vote the levy at a
subsequent election. In fact we now have them in every district of the
county where it is practicable.
Buildings.--Only a few new buildings have been erected within the past year,
principally in the country districts.
In the year 1900 two commodious buildings were begun at Seabreeze and New
Smyrna, at an expense of about $6,000.00. The larger portion of this amount
has been paid by us.
In general our buildings are in good repair and a credit to our county.
Improvements on the DeLand public school building are now going on, a new
furnace being placed at this time.
Grading Committees and Teachers Examination.--I can only speak for Volusia.
We are satisfied with the present plan. During my two years service not a
single complaint nor a breath of suspicion as to unfairness on the part of
grading committees has reached me.
The committee begins work the Monday following examination week after the
examinees have returned to their homes. They work in a place not frequented
by the public. Even after they report to the board the names of the committee
are not published.
An examination law which would permit an individual examination of the
applicant in methods, etc., would be desirable. Aside from that, with the
present law we are content.
Teachers and Salaries.--Our teachers have continued to improve in knowledge
and teaching ability. As an evidence of their advance in text-book know-
ledge, there are among the white teachers but five holding third grade certifi-
cates. Two of this number will take the September examination, endeavoring
to raise the grade of their certificates.
In our city schools all teachers are required to hold first grade certificates
and have to be teachers of experience.
The attendance at the Stetson Normal has been very gratifying. Salaries are
based upon grade of certificate, experience and efficiency in teaching.
It is our plan to pay the teacher, not the school.
Compulsory Education.--Inasmuch as the loyal American citizen regards it as
his duty that the youth of the land be educated, I favor a compulsory edu-
cational law, hedged about with limitations suitable to our people. By this
I do not mean a law necessarily agreeable to all the public, but one wisely
and prudently framed to meet the requirements and demands of our State. The
limit of this summary forbids a discussion of these limitations,
I herewith transmit to you condition of schools, and the progress of school
work in my county for the past two years.
Buildings.--There are twenty white schools and ten negro schools operated in
the county. All of those, except three, are substantial, one-room framed
buildings, except the Crawfordville Graded School, which has three rooms
furnished with patent desks and some appliances.
Financial.--Our deficit is not as large as it was two years ago; we have but
a small amount of outstanding warrants, and our appropriations for all purposes,
does not exceed the levy and the appropriations of the State. Warrants, at
times are not paid promptly as collections are often behind and some teachers
sell at from five to ten per cent discount. Since receiving your circular
of instruction I have been in nearly every school district, and talked with
the best. I find the people in favor of more school money, and the School
Board making the levy.
Special Tax District.--Have never been tried in this county. I am trying to
educate the people up to its adoption. The objections are that it seems too
complicated and is of local nature. For instance, in some districts the negro
element predominates to a certain extent. One district in point, there are
three white families with five children of school age while there are 77 negro
children, these three white patrons pay four-fifths of the taxes of that
district. The people prefer a larger levy and leave it with the School Board
and superintendent to disburse.
Teachers.--The qualifications of the teachers, those belonging to the county,
are improving. The Uniform Examinations are doing the work, compelling
teachers to attend Normal and Summer Training Schools.
Grading Committees.--I find no objection to the Grading Committee system,
in my judgement, it is by far the best when properly conducted.
Compulsory Education.--It is asserted by good authority that there is as
many illiterate men in the South today as there was fifty-two years ago.
This speaks for itself, a law compelling parents to send their children
to school is an absolute necessity; strange to say, every man whom I talked
to on this subject was in favor of a law of this sort. Some of them whose
children were running at large, idleness with a school in less than one
mile from his door. I would suggest that in rural districts that parents
be required by law to send their children 75 per cent of the term when
taught from July 1st, to January 1st, and at least 30 percent of the term
when taught from January to July.
Concentration of Schools.--This is the effort of my life, but the cry is
for a "school of our own" the Board of Public Instruction is disposed to
grant them, and it threatens to wreck the school interests of the county.
Is there evidence of the need of closer relations between the teachers of
pupils and their agricultural and other environments. Decidedly yes, every
graded school should be equipped for this purpose.
A. K. CAUSSEAUX,
Buildings.--The only thing to be said of the school buildings of this county
is that, as in a great many other counties, there is room for improvement.
During the past year few buildings have been erected. Such as have been built,
however, show a tendency upon the part of the people to get something more
comfortable for their schools than they have had heretofore.
Financial.--Warrants issued by the Board of Public Instruction during the past
year have not, owing to lack of available funds, always been paid promptly,
but, .so far as I am aware, none have been unpaid longer than three or four
months. Teachers desiring to do so have been able to borrow money upon their
warrants by depositing them with the lender as collateral security and paying
1 per cent per month on the amount borrowed from the date of the loan to the
date of payment of the warrants. At the end of the school year of 1901-02,
owing to the payment of taxes earlier than heretofore, the school fund showed
a cash balance sufficient to meet all outstanding indebtedness and to start
us into the new year with a net balance of nearly $900. It is hoped that
during the coming school year the Board of Public Instruction will assume the
responsibility of borrowing such a sum of money as will enable the treasurer
promptly to pay all warrants upon presentation. If the Board would borrow
such an amount, it could easily be repaid by the middle of June, because our
receipts during the months of April, May and June are usually amply sufficient
to liquidate all indebtedness previously contracted during the year. The
advantage of borrowing lies in the fact that if all warrants were promptly
cashed some good teachers would remain with us who now go to other counties
County Lev.--The Boards of County Commissioners ought not to have the right
to question the propriety of, or necessity for, and school levy. They ought
to be required to levy such amounts for school purposes, within constitutional
limits, as the Boards of Public Instruction may recommend, and this require-
ment should be made certain by statute so as to obviate all question on the
matter. 'The recent ruling of Judge Reeves in this Circuit, so far as I am
informed, only went to the extent of holding that in mandamus proceedings
Commissioners will be compelled to levy to the extent of the request of a Board
of Public Instruction when it is shown that the amount to be raised is neces-
sary to meet outstanding indebtedness, or such as may be incurred for the
legitimate expenses of schools and administration during the year for which
the levy is requested. It seems that, both boards being elective and equally
responsible to their constituents, the Boards of County Commissioners should
not have the right, under pretense of a tender regard for the people of the
county and doubt of the rights of the Boards of Public Instruction, to put
any Board of Public Instruction to the expense and annoyance of a suit in
order to secure the funds actually necessary for the proper conduct of their
department of the county affairs. The exercise, by a Board of County Com-
missioners hostile to public schools, of the right of questioning the pro-
priety of a levy requested by a Board of Public Instruction can occasion no
little annoyance and some detriment to the school system of a county. In
this connection, lest I be misunderstood, it may be well to observe that the
County Commissioners of Walton County are gradually realizing that funds are
necessary for the schools of the county and for the year just closed gave us
a levy of four and one-half mills, which is also the levy for the present
year* It is hoped that, in the exercise of their discretion, they will reach
the maximum of five mills when the time comes for another levy.
To a teacher or school officer it is apparent that our public school system
will fail of attaining its maximum capacity for effective work so long as the
present constitutional limit of five mills tax for school purposes remains
unchanged. The funds available from the maximum levy are, in a great many
of the smaller counties, grossly inadequate to supply the needs of the schools.
Four months school term is sufficient only to whet our desires for more when
we realize how much better work could be done if we had terms twice as long,
The present poorly paid system of the small counties, with its short term of
school, is productive of many itinerant pedagogues, but makes us few real,
live enthusiastic professional teachers; the latter are what we need and we
can have them only when we have money and length of school terms sufficient
to make it worth while for live, energetic young men and women to become
professionals. The only feasible plans to secure the necessary funds seem to
be either to make such a radical change in laws regulating taxation as will
place all property upon the tax books at something like its true value, or
so to amend the constitution of the State as to require such a rate of taxa-
tion as will guarantee to every county a minimum of eight months schooling
per year. The fact that a few more negroes will get a little more free educa-
tion by such an amendment possesses noterrors for me at all. The only reason
why an amendment to the constitution along the lines above indicated has
not long ago been referred to the people for their ratification or rejection
seems to be that individual legislators have been fearful that the people would
Special Tax District.--There is only one sub-district in Walton County and
it has been rendered possible only by the public spirit of the business men
of DeFuniak Springs, upon whom its burdens fall most heavily. It has, how-
ever, been such a .marked success that its beneficiaries could hardly be per-
suaded to give it up. The more general adoption of sub-districts is prevented
in my judgment, by the fact that in each community where they would be practicable
the increased burden of taxation would fall so heavily upon one or two pro-
perty holders that their faces are set against the innovation; and those per-
sons who are dependent upon them for employment do not care to assume the
responsibility of agitating a question which their employers regard with
Teachers,--Both the character and the qualifications of the teachers of the
county show improvement within the past few years. This is chiefly attributable
to the higher requirements of the present examination law, to a more general
public interest in public schools and consequent desire for wider diffusion
of learning, and to the fact that lately there have been better opportunities
in the State than formerly for the training of teachers. In this particular
section, of course, the State Normal School has not failed to have its bene-
ficial effect. It is only a question of a little while before its influence
will become much more apparent even than it is now.
State Grading Committee.--The present system of grading examination papers
has apparently been satisfactory here. A State Grading Committee or committees
by Judicial Circuits might, and I believe would, have the effect of making
results much more uniform and might for that reason be desirable. That
results are not now regarded as uniform is apparent from the fact that a
Superintendent or Board, before employing a teacher, inquires from what county
his certificate issued and frequently makes discrimination between teachers
from different counties solely on the reputations of such counties for lax
or strict grading.
Compulsory Education.--The question whether a compulsory education law is
needed is hardly necessary. Almost every official will answer in the affirm-
ative. It may be needed, but, in many counties such a law would be impractic-
able unless accompanied by a mandatory provision for free text-books. To
compel some of the people of this county to send to school, without providing
them with text-books, would inflict almost as great a hardship on them as
was inflicted upon the ancient Hebrews by the decree, "Ye shall no more give
the people straw to make brick." Yet, if text-books were free, I believe the
people of Walton county would favor a compulsory law with the age and period
of enforced attendance not so high as to deprive them of the necessary help
of children old enough for effective farm work.
Consolidation of Schools.--Very little has been done in this county toward
the consolidatl-tn of schools, and the transportation of pupils is an experiment
yet to be tried. Two or three schools of the county have recently been con-
solidated with very little friction, The result of course has been larger
schools and better work. More general consolidation is at present not advis-
able on account of the fact that the dissatisfaction it would occasion would
apparently outweigh the benefits to accrue from it. There are, however, a
few schools in the county that will, if present indications are to be trusted,
soon be consolidated not only with the consent, but at the request of the
patrons. This leads to the hope that in the course of a year or two the de-
sire for larger and better schools will become so great as to cause a more
WM. H. WATSON,
Co. Sup't. Pub. Inst.
Dear Sir:--In compliance with your request, I herewith submit the following
Buildings.--For several years our School Board has ndt paid out any money for
new buildings only as the patrons of schools would agree to have the amount
so expended deducted from the regular amount appropriated to such school for
teacher's salary. There is urgent need of a building fund to draw upon for
necessary repairs and also for new buildings in a few localities. We have
about twenty very good frame houses, some of'them in fairly good repair; also
a good many not worthy to be called school houses. At Point Washington a two-
story house has been erected by the citizens of the place at a cost of about
$1,000. The town of Chipley is now erecting a neat brick building to cost
$5,000. Millville, one of our new special tax districts, expects to build a
new house this year to cost not less than $1,000.
Financial.-.-I am glad to report that our financial condition is very much
better than at any time for several years. On the 1st of July, 1900, a
deficit was carried over. Julyl1st 1901, found us with a cash balance of
$1,261.65 and on the 1st of July, 1902, we had a net cash balance of $2,286.51.
This good showing is not the result of any increase in the county school levy,
the county commissioners having lowered the levy in 1901 giving us only four
mills. On the other hand, tax valuations were increased, and this, coupled
with reasonable economy on the part of the School Board was wrought the change
for the better. Our warrants were not paid promptly during all the year as
funds were short during the time from November to March. and our teachers had
to suffer a discount of 5 per cent. This is not dealing justly with the tea-
chers. I think it is the duty of the Board to borrow money to fill in this
gap and keep warrants at par. The commissioners have given us the full five
mills this year and prospects look brighter for the future. The County
Commissioners should have no right to change the levy asked by the School
Board. The Constitutional five mill limit should be removed. The majority
of our people favor more school tax.
Special Tax Districts.--Special tax districts are popular and are becoming
more so as people become better acquainted with them. We have had one in
successful operation for five years. It is the only school in the county
that has been able to maintain six months of school each year. Four new
districts were established last year, and two other applications are on file.
Teachers.--Our corps of teachers is very small. Less than one third as many
teachers as schools. The county is suffering greatly from the lack of a good
High School;,and proper facilities for educating and keeping a supply of
home teachers. The Uniform Examination Law has cut off some of the incompetent
ones, and lack of funds and warrants at a discount have driven many who were
qualified into other employment. Those remaining in the work are progressive
and realize that their motto must be "Onward and Upward" if they would keep
abreast of the times.
Grading Committees.--In order to secure absolute uniformity of grading and
avoid the numerous irregularities charged to the present system, I believe
a State Grading Committee is desirable, but I do not favor a State Examining
Board. Let the examining be done by the county superintendent as at present.
If the County Superintendent be a man of worth as he should be, as much fraud
could be practiced under a State Examiner as under a County Superintendent,
and I do not see any use in paying a State Examiner a snug little sum for
coming into each county and doing what the County Superintendent would do
just as well for nothing.
Compulsory Education.--A compulsory law, limited to apply to pupils between
the ages of eight and sixteen years would work well in this county, provided
the law made it mandatory on the part of the school Board to furnish free
text books to all indigent pupils. I believe a majority of our people would
favor such a law, and I beleive many would pay the school tax more willingly
if such a law were in force.
Concentration of Schools.--This has not been attempted only in localities where
the three mile limit was being violated. "The sentiment, better schools and
fewer schools, is growing stronger, but in order not to stir up too much strife
it is necessary to proceed in this direction with a great deal of caution.
Transportation of Pupils.--Such a thing has never been tried in Washington
county. It might work well in certain localities but I am inclined to doubt
the feasibility of it at present.
Industrial Instruction.--There is evidence of the need of closer relation be-
tween the teaching of pupils and their agricultural and other environment.
All teaching should be as practical as possible; and the pupils should be
able to deal the more intelligently with the practical problems of life for
the time he has spent in the public schools. I do not, however, think it
wise to add anything to the present requirements for third grade teachers'
Thanking you for the many courtesies shown me during the short time that I
have been in the charge of the work in this county,
I am, yours truly,
L. L. PRATT,
(The circular letter was mailed to the Superintendent of this county, but no
report was filed.)
Under the impression that a report of the operations of the East Florida
Seminary was required of me by law, I did promise to make such a report
(one is printed elsewhere); but later I discovered the following:
Section 812--Revised Statutes.--312. Visitors.--At least once in
each year each seminary shall be visited by three suitable persons
--not members of the board or seminary--to be appointed by the
Board, who shall examine thoroughly into the affairs of the sem-
inary, and report to the State superintendent of public instruction
their views with regard to its condition, success and usefulness,
and any other matters they may judge expedient. Such visitors
shall be appointed annually."
JERE. M. POUND, Supt.
In compliance with your request I beg leave to submit the following brief re-
port of schools of Baker county together with some few suggestions.
Buildings,--During the past two years, nine buildings have been erected at a
total cost of $2,135.33. $1,395.49 of this amount was expended on the county
High School at Macclennmr. The buildings erected for rural districts are
more substantial and afford more comfort than those erected in former years,
but still they are not what we would like to have them.
High Schools.--There is only one High School in the county. The contract for
the erection of the building was let in May 1903 opened school in it in October
of the same year. We and the building was near enough completed so that we
had an enrollment of 134 pupils for the year with an average attendance of
90. Ten grades were maintained.
While there was considerable opposition throughout the county to the extablish-
ment of the school owing to the expenditure it would necessarily incur, yet
we are very much gratified to note that the success of the first year's work
was far beyond our expectations, and we find that as time passes the people
are looking more favorably upon the school. We believe that the only way to
bring the county up abreast with other counties is to properly maintain the
county High School. We are very grateful for the $360,00 State Aid received
for the school and hope that the Legislature will continue this appropriation
as it has proved to be a great encouragement to counties which are weak
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--I am unalterably opposed to State Uniformity
of Text-books. I think the county Boards should know best what they need in
the way of text-books, and, besides, I believe that books are purchased at
as low a figure now as they would be under State Uniformity. Then, too, I
do not think it just to allow one publishing house to "farm out" the text-
book business of the State to the detriment of other houses doia a legitimate
Free Text-Books.--I think it would be well for books to be furnished pupils
free of charge when the financial condition of counties will permit, but-I
do not think that many counties are ready to meet such an expenditure yet,
as teachers are demanding higher salaries and the tax levy is limited to five
Compulsory Education.--Some sort of coercion is very much needed in order that
children may derive more benefit from our free schools, but I see no way that
this could be done by law without a hardship devolving upon some. I think
the best way would be to gradually educate the people up to where they can
see the necessity of keeping their children in school.
Concentration of Schoold.--Very little has been done along this line during
the past two years, physical conditions of the county make it practically
impossible in some localities. Our people are opposed to it, so we have been
waiting to learn of results of experiments in other counties before trying
Mode of Examination.--I have no suggestion to make in regard to mode of con-
ducting examinations. As strict as the regulations are with county Super-
intendents as careful as possible in conducting examinations, I find that
some get through, who, to say the least, are no more proficient than they
r would suggest that our present certification law be so amended as to provide
for an emergency.
The law authorizing State Aid for graded and High Schools has given rise to
so many of these schools and created such a demand for competent principles (sic)
till it seems to me that it would be well to so amend the present law that
any person holding a degree from any reputable institution might teach in
the public schools without having to go through the regular examination.
The State is spending sufficient money upon its institutions so that they
may do a high grade of work and, if it believes such work is being done, it
seems to me not out of reason to recognize graduates from these institutions.
Grading Committees.--The present system seems to give general satisfaction
and I see no good reason for a change.
Special Tax Schools.--There is only one Special Tax District in the county.
The funds arising from this District amount to $278100. The people generally
have been opposed to voting extra taxes upon themselves, but after noting
good results from the establishment of this district, they seem to look upon
the idea more favorably, so that we expect other districts to be voted in the
Financial .--We have no indebtedness except a current account which is paid
up during each scholastic year. At the close of the school year 1904, we
had nearly $2,000.00 on hand. We always pay teachers salaries promptly with-
out any discount.
Owing to a scarcity of teachers it was impossible to have all the schools taught
out during the past year. This cuts the average term for whites down to 41
days. The negro schools were all taught. The average length of term being
The shortest term for whites was 20 days. The shortest term for negroes was
80 days. The longest term for whites was 160 days. The longest term for
negroes was 110 days.
Co. Supt. Baker County.
In compliance with your request of Nov. 1st., I submit the following facts,
relative to the school work of this county for the past two years.
Buildings.--We have erected three buildings during the past three years, one
at the cost of $150, and two at the cost of about $h00 each. $400 has been
spent in repairs. The town of Lake Butler has been bonded for the sum of
$4,000 for the purpose of erecting a modern school building. They expect to
build a house costing, not less than $6,000.
High Schools.--There was only one High School in the county before we received
the State Appropriation. We now have three, and one Rural Graded School.
There has been a daily attendance of 333 pupils in these three High Schools.
Ten grades have been maintained in these three schools. The effect of the
State Appropriation has been excellent. School interest has greatly increased.
In each of these places the people have voted, this year, to re-establish the
highest possible tax the law would allow. I think the State Appropriation
should be continued by all means.
State Unfbrmity of Text-Books --I think there is a demand for it and I favor
the same for the following reasons:
1. It will enable better classification.
2. It will tend to uniformity of instruction.
3. It will be a great saving to the patrons in the cost of books.
Concentration of Schools.--We have concentrated four schools into two with
excellent results. The attendance is much better, and the patrons are well
pleased. We hope to consolidate other schools in the near future.
Compulsory Education.--A law of this kind is much needed. I believe a large
per cent. of our people would favor compulsory attendance by law. Patrons
should be compelled to send their children to school, between the ages of
6 and 14 for, at least, four months in the year.
Grading Committee.--If competent and conscientious teachers are placed upon
the committee, the present system gives satisfaction. It unquestionably tends
to the production of better teachers.
Special Tax Schools.--We now have eleven Special Tax School Districts. Three
have been established during the past two years. $4,085 have been expended
during the past two years from these special funds. The trustees have utilized
these funds wisely. School buildings have been made more comfortable, longer
terms have been secured, and more competent teachers have been employed.
The indications are that they will not only be continued, but the number will
Financial Condition.--Two years ago there was a samll balance to our credit.
We began the present school year with over $3,500 to our credit. We pay our
teachers cash monthly. The longest term in any part of the county is eight
months. The shortest four months.
We are planning for advancement all along the line.
GEO. F. SCDTT,
Bonaventure, Fla., Nov. 19th, 1904.
Hon W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Sir:--I herewith submit an abstract resume of school operations in
Brevard County for the two years ending June 30th, 1904.
Buildings.--New buildings have been erected at Eau Gallie, Sebastian, Jensen,
White City, Eldred, Malabar, and Shiloh.
Extensive repairs and remodeling have been done at Titusville, Cocoa, Fort
Pierce, Lotus, Fort Drum, Orangedale, Viking, Georgianna, Midway, Tropie,
Valkaria Banyan, Wabasso, at an approximate cost of seventeen thousand
High Schools.--Number before State Aid was offered 1, number now in operation
with lawful attendance and grades maintained having a very favorable effect
upon our County system, and we urge the advisability of continuing the state
appropriations for their maintenance.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.-- There is no demand for it in this county,
we do not favor the system because, in our judgment this power should be vested
with the various county boards, believing that it will induce special effort
on the part of many to aim for and attain the best, while state uniformity
would tend to dwarf individual effort from the many, vesting it with a few
thereby tending to stagnation, and being democratic in our views we naturally
don't take to trusts, this movement we believe looks in that direction.
Free Books.--It is decidedly advisable that books should be furnished all
pupils in the grammar school free of cost out of the county school funds.
It is one of the greatest blessings that could be heaped upon the middle
and lower classes, it is a benefaction pure and simple, and is one of the
most important features of our school work.
We are supplying books in this county at an annual expense of less than thirty
($0.30) cents per pupil, and as the money comes largely from corporations and
wealthy individuals, it does not cost the average poor man five ($0.09) cents
per year, whereas were he forced to buy the books himself as his child passes
from grade to grade, we believe two or three dollars a year would be necessary.
The very class that we are most anxious to educate is this particular class,
they would not promptly buy the books themselvesand the greatest loss of
all would be their clogging our schools with pupils without books which would
necessarily materially retard the progress at every school.
Compulsory Education.--We believe heartily that such a law is much needed.
It is safe to say that 90 per cent. of our people favor such a measure. I'd
suggest requiring not less than four months consecutive attendance from each
child between the ages of eight and fourteen years. All this hue and cry
that certain people cannot spare their children to go to school is a delusion.
Some people regard their children as merely private property, given solely to
work for them, which tends to encourage indolence and laziness on their part;
we should remember the old Spartan law which placed the state's claim first,
--it is our duty to educate. Where a family was known to be absolutely de-
pendant upon the services of particular children for a living, let the county
contribute to the support of these needy ones during this time and take the
money of the people giving it freely for this purpose, just as we do for
jails, courts, court-houses, roads and numberless other things; these boys
and girls should be the State's first consideration and no people can ever
attain greatness other than thro' the medium of intelligence. (sic)
Concentration of Schools and Transportatioh of Pupils.--We introduced this
measure and have been operating it for the past two years, the result of our
experience is that it is a profound success, which opinion is shared largely
by the better and intelligent class of our community, save in one instance
pronounced opposition has not developed, in this case it is largely directed
thro' misconception, and is controlled by a few old stagers who persist in
living in the past, who at the beginning swore that the horse was sixteen
feet high, and will continue to persist and argue until their children teach
them better, or in the course of human events the good Lord comes to our
relief and takes them to the "Happy Hunting Ground."
Mode of Examination.--Our present plan has produced good results, I can think
oT-o other than a thorough testing of teaching ability.
Grading Committee.--Our present system is good, it is only necessary that the
county superintendent and county boards see to it, that the work is well and
faithfully done. Any undertaking involves some burden and we must honestly
Special Tax Schools.--Every school in this county is aided by special tax,
the entire county is covered by these districts and there has been fourteen
thousand four hundred and eighty-six (14,486) dollars expended which was
derived from this source, the effect has been to bring the people closer to
the schools and more thor'ly enlist their sympathies.
If the increased state millage failed of endorsement in the past election,
there is every indication that Brevard County will continue to liberally
collect special tax for schools, since the county has by a handsome majority
endorsed the proposed Constitutional Amendment to Section 8, Article XII.
Financial.--Our school board is not in debt but had on hand a balance of two
thousand one hundred and forty-two dollars and fifty-five (2,142.55) cents,
at the close of last year's operations. Our indebtedness two years ago
was one thousand three hundred and sixty dollars and nine ($1,360.09) cents.
Our teachers are paid in warrants that pass as good bank checks at their face
value without discount.
School Term.--Our average length of school term last year was for whites 112
days, colored 87 days; longest for whites being 160 days, shortest 120 days.
For colored, 120 days and 100 days respectively. Among the better class there
is a demand for longer terms, and this feeling will eventually secure it.
R. E. MIMS,
Hon W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Florida.
Dear Sir:--In compliance with your request, I respectfully submit the following
report of the public schools of Calhoun County.
Buildings.--During the last two years we have built four new frame buildings
at a cost of between $500 and $600, and entered into a contract lately for
the erection of another school building to cost $1200.
High Schools.--We have no high school in this county but will probably have
one in the near future.
We have two graded schools for which we received $200 a piece State Aid.
The attendance was not as large as we expected, but will be considerably in-
creased during the present scholastic year.
I am highly in favor of continuing the State Aid Appropriation for graded apd
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--There is very little demand for State Uniformity
in this county.
I am not in favor of it because I do not think it would better our present
Free Text-Books.--I am firmly convinced that Free Text-Books would be a blessing
for several counties in Florida, creating, I believe, a better attendance and
thereby being the means of grading our rural schools more perfectly than at
If we can get the maximuW seven mill levy I see no reason why we could not
have Free Text-Books, the cost of which to be paid out of County School Funds.
Compulsory Education.--Such a law is needed and needed badly.
I would say over two-thirds of the best people of this county would favor it.
As to what the limitation should be is rather a difficult question for me to
say. I will leave it for brighter minds to solve.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We have done very little
in this line yet, owing to the sparcely settled condition of our county.
We have made a break in this direction, having consolidated three school dis-
tricts into one, and I believe it will work well. I am in favor of it, but
a majority of my people are opposed to it, perhaps, not liking to give up the
time-honored little district school for which they are really not to be blamed.
Mode of Examination.--I find no fault with the present mode of examination
provided it is carried out honestly and conscientiously.
Grading Committees.-*I do not favor the present system of grading.
I favor a State Grading Committee for reasons stated in my paper read at Green
Cove Springs in Feb. 1902.
Special Tax Schools.--Sentiment is growing in favor of Special Tax School
Districts in Calhoun County.
We have established three during the past two years, making a total of four
in the county which is saying a good deal for Calhoun.
There is every indication of their continuance and of establishing more, as
they have a very decided effect upon the educational status of the county for
Financial,--Our financial condition is sound, safe and sane.
Our teachers are paid promptly each month in warrants worth their face value.
We carried over a balance on July 1st, 1904 of $3,944.26 which will serve a
good purpose in paying our teachers until this years taxes are received.
School Terim.--Our school term past and present year is five months.
We give the same term to both races. There is a demand for longer terms,
and I beleive the prospects are good for having them.
I would be pleased to have at least a six months term in all our schools.
P. F. FISHER,
It is with pleasure that I comply with your request of recent date, and cheer-
fully submit the following general report of our public schools for the two
years ending June 30th, 1904.
We feel that we have cause for congratulation on our school work for the past
The interest manifested in school work and general advancement of the educa-
tional affairs, of our county by school officers, patrons and teachers com-
pares most favorably with previous years.
New Buildings.--For the period of two years we have erected two new school
houses and built additions to two others.
Black Boards and Furniture.--We are amply supplied with patent desks, hylo-
plate black boards and good heaters.
County High Schools.--We note with pride the growth and success of our county
high school. The wisdom of our School Board has been fully demonstrated by
keeping this institution under the central and management of a faculty of
experienced teachers. The State Aid has helped us wonderfully here as well
as elsewhere in the county.
Length of School Term.--Last year the school term was, for the first time in
the history of the county, six months instead of five.
Our schools are growing year by year and in many districts demands are made
for more teachers. Possibly our system is as good as any county in the State
and surely we are doing all we can under the circumstances.
Wishing the cause great success throughout the State, I am,
R. L. TURNER,
Dear Sir:--In compliance with your request of recent date, I hereby respect-
fully submit the following brief comment upon the topics designated, relating
to the school affairs of this county for the past two years.
Buildings.--One three-room and two one-room buildings have been erected within
the-last two years, at a cost of about $1,200. Considerable repairing has
been done, and patent desks and blackboards have been furnished nearly all
the schools. The total outlay for the new buildings, repairs, and furniture
has been about $2,600.
High Schools.--Before State Aid was offered there was not in the county a
high school, properly so called. In the school years 1903-4 one Junior
High School complied with all the requirements and received the $360 State
Aid. The same school is being continued the present year with an attend-
ance of nine in the two grades, ninth and tenth. In the year 1906-07, or
before, this school should become a Senior High School, with the ninth,
tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades all well attended. One or more other
High Schools can in the near future be organized in the county if competent
teachers can be secured for them.
The general effect of High Schools upon the county system may be given under
the following heads, which in my judgment, whow the advisability of continuing
the State Appropriation for their maintenance: 1. They enable advanced
students to prepare for college, or to get more than a grammer school education
without leaving their county; 2. They raise the generally accepted maximum
of common school education, and thus stimulate youth to an effort toward higher
attainment, and encourage them to continue in school longer; 3. By complying
with the requirements of law which created them, they tend to introduce more
system into the county plan of public education; 4. The State Aid will usually
be found sufficient to supplement the other funds so as to continue the en-
tire school, of which the high school forms a part, to a term of eight months.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--Those people of our county who have moved
here from other counties of the State, express themselves as being dissatis-
fied with the present necessity of buying different books for their children.
State uniformity of text-books would be welcomed by all the citizens of the
county, provided the best books was (sic) adopted by the State, and provided
the change from those now used here to those of State adoption did not involve
too great an expense. I believe that State uniformity would be very advan-
Free Text-Books.--I think it very unadvisable for the county to undertake to
furnish free text-books. The cost would be too great to be borne by the avail-
able funds without making it necessary to curtail other, more.legitimate
expenditures. The system would almost surely be wasteful, and would cause
the books to cost the tax payers much more than they now do the patrons. It
would cause school officers and teachers endless trouble. The distribution
of books, new and old, the demand of reparation for damage done books, and
other details, would produce friction, and antagonism between the teachers
on the one hand, and the pupils and patrons, on the other. A child prizes
a book of its own much more highly than he does one that belongs to the public
and has, perhaps, been thumbed and marked by some other pupil. The children
should have their books during vacation.
Compulsory Education.-- A compulsory attendance law is greatly needed in this
county. I believe that at least seventy-five per cent of the people favor
such a law. The law should, I think, be so framed as to require all children
between the ages of six and fourteen years to attend the public school, or
some other school, the length of time that the public school is maintained,
each year. Provision would, of course, necessarily be made to excuse from
attendance for illness.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.-- We have done consider-
able along this line. In one instance--little one-teacher schools have been
merged into one large school of three teachers. Other concentration has been
effected. The transportation of pupils has become quite a prominent feature
of our county. Results have fully verified our conviction that, when care-
fully managed, the plan of concentration and transportation creates larger,
stronger amd more efficient schools and necessitates less expenditure than
would be required to maintain the little, isolated schools. The plan is
favored by the majority of the people of the county.
Mode of Examination.--The mode of examination now pursued is probably about
as good as can be devised for existing conditions. It might be well if the
question bore a little more on the method of teaching. I suggest the plan
that only a certificate, coupled with a license to teach one year, be granted
inexperienced persons, and that the different grades of certificates be
issued only after stated lengths of successful teaching of certain school
Grading Committee.-- The grading committee, acting under the present law, are
quite satisfactory. The scholarship and practical efficiency of the teachers
of the county have improved under the system.
Special Tax Schools.--There are now seven special tax school districts in the
county, including the entire area. The largest two, which comprise more than
half this county, were created within the past two years. About $3,000 is raised
annually by the special tax. This special tax has lengthened the term, has
secured better teachers, and has partly built, repaired and furnished, build-
ings. It has increased the effectiveness of the county schools fifty per
cent. It seems likely that these districts will continue operation.
Financial.--The monthly financial report of October, 1904, shows a deficit
in the county school funds. The report for the same month two years ago was
$4,004.30. The income for this fiscal year will be greater than it was two
years ago, on account of the increased special tax. The teachers are paid
in cash monthly. There has not been a school warrant of this county dis-
counted since the early part of the year 1901.
School Term.--The average length of school term is about 5 j months. About
four schools of the county will have eight months this school year. Two will
have seven months. The remainder will have five months. The term would be
longer, but the funds have been drawn upon rather heavily in the past few months
to supply the schools with furniture and blackboards. The people want longer
terms, and it will be practicable to lengthen the term next school year, as
it will then not be necessary to make an outlay for furniture.
County Superintendent Clay County.
Lake City, Fla., Nov. 15th, 1904.
Complying with your request, I submit the following report as a summary of
the educational facts and conditions now existing in the Columbia County.
Buildings.--At the beginning of my administration, four years ago, I found
the school buildings in a dilapidated condition, so much so in many cases,
as to necessitate new buildings. During the two scholastic years ending
June 30th, 1904, I have erected six good substantial buildings, at a cost
of $2,306.09. These buildings are comfortable, well-finished and several of
I have repaired thirteen school buildings, some of them slightly and some
very extensively, at a total cost of $828.61. All of this money except about
$300 which was paid by the City of Lake City, was paid from the county school
fund. The school buildings of the county now are in very good condition with
few exceptions, and those will be repaired or re-built as soon as the funds
High Schools.--Prior to granting State Aid in maintaining high schools, there
was only one well-established, well-regulated high school in the county.
Now there are a Senior and Junior high school each receiving aid from the,
State, aggregating $960. :There is another rural graded school which did hot
receive aid from the State on account of the small attendance which was
caused by sickness. '
The Senior High School at Lake City maintained eleven grades, and the enroll-
ment was greater than ever before, so was the average attendance for the entire
The Junior High School, located at Ft. White, maintained ten grades with a
better average attendance for the eight months than the school formerly made
for six months.
The law providing for the State to aid maintaining High Schools is a wise
provision, and I sincerely hope it will be continued. It has caused the
schools to take on new life, and has stimulated rural districts to establish
larger and better schools with the view of getting aid from the State,
lengthening their terms and employing better qualified teachers for their.
schools. It reaches the rural districts and distributes the school funds
where it is actually needed. Many young men and women of limited means can
continue their education for several years longer by establishing such schools
who would be debarred in the absence of such a law.
State Uniformitu of Text-Books.--In my judgment, there is a necessity for it,
if not a demand. I favor the system on the same grounds that I favor uni-
form books in a single school. I believe all will admit that it is necessary
to have uniform books in a school, and if that is true, it must be necessary
to have them in a county, therefore, I would say make it uniform throughout
the state as I see no evil growing out of it, yet I do see some good to be
derived from it. There is no question, but what books can be secured much
cheaper under such a system.
Free Text-Books.--I believe that every child in the State should be furnished
ii whatever books necessary for the proper pursuance of the course of study.
It is advisable to furnish free school for all children in the State, there-
fore I should think that it would be advisable to furnish free text-books.
The same principle is involved in both cases. There are some objectionable
features, such as furnishing the colored race with books when they pay such
a small amount of taxes, but by excluding them many white children are excluded
Compulsory Education.--I believe such a law is needed, but just what per cent.
of the people would favor it, I am unable to say. If such a law should be
enacted, I think the limitations should be fixed on the child's age and the
time required in school.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We have tried it to
some extent, but not very extensively. I find that it is better for the
children, though the parents object to it on some very frivolous grounds, but
if it was systematically done, better opportunities could be given for less
money, and the opposition to it would be overcome. The mistake was made years
ago and it is very hard to remedy now, but there is no question in my mind
but what the small school in the rural districts will have to be concentrated
sooner or later in order for the schools to improve very much over their pre-
Mode of Examinations.--I do not believe the present examination law can be
improved upon very much by offering a substitute. It has been giving very
good satisfaction, and I do not hear any serious objections to it yet.
About the only modification that is necessary, is something to relieve the
situation when the teaching force of the State has been exhausted and the de-
mand not satisfied. That is the situation now and not a teacher who does not
hold a certificate issued in accordance with the laws of this State can be
employed, I believe that first grade certificates from other states should
have some consideration, especially if they are still in force in the state
from which they are issued.
Grading Committee.--So far as I have been able to learn the people of my county
are very well pleased with the present mode of grading papers, and I have
nothing better to offer or to recommend.
Special Tax Schools.--I have six Special Tax Schools in my county but one has
failed to make any levy, as itti located in the country and very little is
derived from the special tax. None has been created within the last two years,
but I think the number will increase.
They have aided materially in building up better school in many counties, aid
in educating the people to be more liberal in supporting their schools,
T. H. OWENS.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, State Superintendent, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Sirt--In compliance with your request, I take great pleasure in submitting
the following report of the schools of Dade county:
Buildings.--During the past two years seven buildings have been erected, or
enlarged and repaired, at a cost of $12,090. New.furniture and apparatus
have been added at an outlay of $3,200. The School Board have devoted their
best energies and judgment to providing for the growing needs of the schools
in these important matters, with highly satisfactory results.
High Schools.--Three High Schools were established before State Aid was
offered, and owing to the views of the Board on the concentration of schools,
the number has not been increased. The attendance is excellent. The Miami
school has twelve grades; West Palm Beach, eleven; Lemon City, ten. Their
general effect on the county system is most beneficial, and State Appropriation
should undoubtedly be continued.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--Fully nine-tenths of the people of our county
favor State uniformity of Text-Books. My preference for it is due to the obvious
requirements in the favor--children going from one county to another are saved
the expense of buying new books; and the pupils of all the schools have the
same preparation for new subjects, which, other things being equal, ought to
Compulsory Attendance.--A compulsory education law is badly needed. Not more
than fifty per cent. of the children of school age are enrolled, and only
about sixty-five per cent. of the enrollment attended.
Transportation of Pupils.--We transport pupils at two places, and as a result
have better attendance and much better schools. At first some of the patrons
opposed concentration, but after seeing its benefits, favored it.
Mode of Examination.--If carried out strictly, the present system of examination
is adequate to the requirements,
Grading Committee.--In my judgment, no sound objection to the present system
can be offered.
Progress.--In 1897 when I began my work as Superintendent, the total average
attendance was 467; the school buildings and lots were valued at $10,750;
furniture and apparatus, $2,931; and the county assessment of real and personal
property was $1,629,062. The average attendance for 1903-4 was 1242; the
school buildings and lots were valued at $37,415; furniture and apparatus,
$7,811; and the assessment of real and personal property, $3,739,231. The
assessment for 1904 is over $,O000,000.
The above statistics speak eloquently of the rapid and substantial progress
of Dade county and Dade county's schools. Our county commissioners have been
broad, liberal-minded men who have always assessed the full five mills, and
will assess seven mills as soon as the opportunity offers. Such being the
case it should not be a matter of surprise to any one that I can say without
boasting that our teachers and schools are second to none.
Z. T. MERRITT,
Arcadia, Fla., Nov. 15th, 190$.
Dear Sirt--In compliance with your request I submit a brief report of what
has been accomplished on educational lines in DeSoto County during the two
years ending June 30th, 1904.
Buildings.--During the two years we built five frame buildings and two box
buildings at a total cost of $4,446.17, we made repairs on buildings to the
amount of $850.07, we put in furniture to the amount of $1,649.34. We will
soon have.plenty of good school houses and have them furnished with patent
High Schoold.--We had two high schools in operation and have added one more
since State aid was granted, making three now, in operation, maintaining grades
from primary to twelfth. These schools are having a good effect on the educational
interests of the county. I believe that State appropriation for high schools
was wise legislation and I favor a continuation of it.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--This subject has been so thoroughly discussed
through the state press that I will not attempt to discuss it, but I want to
go on record as favoring it because I think it will be better than the present
system. The people of Florida are continually moving from one county to
another and find a different adoption of books, and before they can enter school
they have to buy new books. With a uniform system the schools can be better
Free Text-Books.--I am opposed to the free text-book system. First, very few
children like to use books that have been used by others, especially if they
have been soiled, which they are liable to be after a lew weeks use if they
are public property. A child likes to feel that his book is his own property
and he is more likely to take care of it. Second, because that it has been
clearly demonstrated that diseases have been communicated by exchange of books.
Compulsory Education.--I oppose compulsory education. I do not think the southern
people would submit to it. I do not think it could be made operative in a
sparcely settled country like Florida.
Financial,--Our county school fund is in good condition, has never been in
debt. In consequence of the taX not being paid in until spring, we are forced
to borrow on short time to pay warrants monthly, but by the end of the year
we settle up all outstanding accounts and have a balance from L to $5,00 (sic) to
begin the next year. We pay all warrants monthly. Our school term is from
five to eight months. Five months seems to be about as long as we can run
in the rural districts, beginning the firstof August and ending Christmas,
M. F. GIDDENS,
Superintendent Public Instruction.
In compliance with your request I respectfully submit the following report
for your Bi-ennial:
Buildings.--During the last two years eight new buildings or valuable additions
have been erected at total cost of $h,000, all being made for the improvement
of our rural school system, the concentration plan.
High Schools.--The number of high schools have not changed during the past
wo years. A "Senior" high school with a faculty of seven teachers and four
courses of study is maintained for white children. For negro children, a
"Junior" high school of three teachers and two courses of study has been
established. Both of these schools receive State aid, having experienced no
difficulty in meeting all requirements.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--There is no demand for it because the Caucasian
does not wish to be put in educational "lock-step" with the negro by such univ
formity and the negro ought not to be. Rural schools ought not to be subjected
to the same subject matter as might be very suitable to city schools,
A uniform course of study, a common aim for the educators of the State, wisely
exists but the individuality of the educating force of each county ought to
be allowed all possible freedom in the choice of "ways and means" to attain
Free Text-Books.--It certainly is not advisable to furnish all pupils with
free books for several reasons: lack of funds all over the State; the inevitable
"boodling" schemes; the second hand school book is the most dangerous formite
for contagious disease germs. Finally the pleasure of personal possession is
very precious to every school child and ought to be gladly accorded by every
parent that is able.
A few very indigent families ought to be supplied with free and fresh or
thoroughly disinfected old books every year.
Compulsory Education.--All along the Northern line of States, from Maine to
Washington, from Massachusetts to California, through a zone where tax values
are high and where levies for school purposes are unabridged and lavishly
made; where only one race is to be educated and the economy of a single sys-
tem of education can be employed, history gives us many adverse experiences
in the compelling of education.
What then can we prophesy of the results of compulsory education in the South
where no experiment has been made; where not only a foreign-people but a
different race necessitates a double system of education at nearly double ex-
pense; where tax valuations are comparatively low and school levies limited;
where the sentiment of the peoples usually averse to coersion (sic) of.any
kind; where the paternal idea of government has not passed out of the hand of
the father as a gift to the State. The Southern zone of states may follow the
sister zone of the North; it may profit by the history of that sister zone
and devise something much better. Be it so!
In the light of Northern history, it seems better for the Southern zone to
follow the law of the "survival of the fittest," and, in this case, the fittest
will be those who send and go to school voluntarily.
Let the South spend her energies, her skill and her funds in removing obstructions
from the front of her educational volunteers and her army of pupils will be as
large as she can possibly feed and equip. Let her provide free books for the
indigent; night schools for the youthful "bread-winners" of her cities; proper
appliances and facilities in concentrated schools of her rural population;
finally, provide every inducement and she will need no compulsion.
Concentration and Transportation.--Of h4 one-teacher schools for white children
existing in the rural districts of Duval County in 1896, only seven now remain.
Even these are tolerated only because of their isolated location on the out-
skirts of the county. In a short time, they will be merged into concentrated
schools already established in Duval or into like schools that the adjoining
counties may be wise enough to establish in the future.
County-line concentrations is an important phase of this new system of organizing
and conducting schools. The feasibility of such a plan is found in the Maxville
school now in operation for the second year on the county line between Clay and
The superintendents of these two counties chose a site for the school with the
previous agreement that the county having the preferable site should build a
suitable house, that the other should furnish and equip it and that each should
pay half of the current expenses of the school when in operation.
The eligible site fell on the Clay county side of the line and there now stands
a substantial, well-lighted building of three commodious rooms each accessible
by means of a roomy hall and an attractive veranda, all representing Clay
county's faith in Duval county's pledge to furnish and equip it. Duval pro-
vided 96 new patent sittings, 3 tables, 180 square feet of hyloplate black-
boards, 3 stoves with fixtures, a large globe, maps, charts and window shades,
and continues to supply all necessary portable appliances.
This school with its enrollment of about 90 pupils and 3 teachers solves the
problem of complete concentration of all the rural schools of Duval county,
and illustrates the feasibility of assimilating the school interests of adjoin-
ing counties to such an extent as to form a State system on the concentrated plan.
Fifteen such schools are now located and operating in Duval county, each ac-
commodating the children from 50 to 100 square miles of territory.
Beyond the limit of two miles, the children of these schools are transported
by means of wagonetts specially designedfor the purpose and provided by the
Board of Public Instruction at the public expense.
Thirty of these comfortable vehicles are now running at an average cost of
$24.66 per month, enabling us to close 30 of the one one-teacher schools.
If these 30 old time schools were now in operation, they would each cost not
less than $45.50 per month. Hence, the transportation system now in operation
produces a current saving of $625.20 per month.
Taking from this gross saving the increase of teachers' salaries at the cen-
tralized schools amounting to $540.00 per month, and there remains a net saving
of $85.20 per month, or $681.60 for the year 1903-4.
The cost of construction and repair of the 30 school wagons would be considerably
less than the re-construction and repair of the 30 old school buildings, many
of which were about to collapse.
To verify the popularity of the system and the confidence of the Board of Public
Instruction in its merits, six new wagons have just been ordered to meet new
Mode of Examination.--The present mode:is good enough. It can "be made less
burdensome" by reducing the scope and numberof questions. Examinations can-
not be made "tests of teaching ability," in any sense. On the contrary, they
frequently display an admirable amount of book-knowledge on theory that mis-
leads the unwary examiner as to the practice that may be expected.
The teacher's own school room is about the only place where her teaching ability
can be discovered. Unfortunately for the public, a standing for or against
her teaching ability is entirely eliminated from her certificate, under pre-
sent methods of issuing licenses to teach.
The teacher's certificate now represents only the science of teaching, not
the art; learning without wisdom; mere knowledge about the subject not skill
in handling the most important of modern arts.
Special Tax Schools.--All schools in Duval county are special tax schools.
There are two special tax districts, to-wit: District No. 1 bounded by the
corporate limits of the city of Jacksonville and district No. 2 comprising
all that part of the county outside the city of Jacksonville,
At the close of the fiscal year, $18,982 had been collected from both districts
and had been expended mostly in paying off a pending judgment covering all
indebtedness incurred before this fiscal year.
The indications are that these special levies will be discontinued after the
Constitutional amendment for a 7 mill levy shall have become effective.
Finances.--On June 30, 1904, our school debt was $63,667 with an asset of $11,000
in sight. With one million and a quarter of valuation more than ih former
years and an assured 7 mill county levy, Duval's school fund presents a cheer-
School warrants are, discounted 5 per cent., but teachers salaries have been
increased 5 per cent. to meet the discount.
GEO. P. GLENN,
Supt. of Pub. Inst. for Duval Co.
Pensacola, Fla., Nov. 11, 1904.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Sir:--In compliance of your circular of Nov. 1st inst. I herewith submit
my report of school operations for the school year of 1903-Z, and for the
first four months of this school year.
For the school year of 1903-4 we had an enrollment of 3,351 whites and 1,980
negroes, total 5,331, and an average attendance of 2,305 whites and 1,344 negroes,
We had under contract 83 white teachers and 32 negroes, total 115.
Several of the teachers both white and colored taught two schools.
At this date, Nov. 11, we have 115 teachers under contract and a larger number
of children enrolled in the schools than was ever known at one time before.
School Property.--The Board of Public Instruction at this time, own in the
city of Pensacola six modern and fairly well equipped school buildings, one
with 15 rooms, one with 8, one with 5, two with 4 each, and one with two rooms,
total 38 rooms; and for negroes, we have 6 buildings, one with 5 rooms, one
with 4, two with 3 each, one with 2, and one with 1, total 18, also two one-
room buildings rented.
The rooms in these buildings are all large and well lighted and ventilated,
and several of them are models for comfort and convenience.
We have just completed one 8 room building on east Gregory street, a cut of
same, I will try and forward you, for in my estimation it is a model school
building? The 8 rooms being 28 by 32 feet each, with a brick basement under
the entire building 9 ft. deep.
This building, as is also school No. 1, is heated with a warm air furnace.
We expect in the near future to fit up this basement for a gymnasium, work-
The Board sold the old school building No. 2 on east Garden street for $10,000
and purchased the lots on which this new building No. 2 is located for $4,000
and had $6,000 to pay on this model building, which cost $9,150.
In addition to this 8 room building, we have added two comfortable rooms to
school buildings No. 31 for negroes, and have completed one good 1 room build-
ing in the county. All these improvements have been started and completed
since the beginning of this school year.
While our school buildings do not represent as large an expenditure in cash
as other counties can show, ours for comfort and practical utility are equal
to any in the state.
I attribute this to the fact thatthe Chairman of our school board, Hon. A. V.
Clubbs, is a practical contractor and builder, and he takes a deep interest in
our schools, and draws the plans and specifications for all our school buildings.
Financial Situation.--At this time the school board is in debt $19,500. $13,500
of this brought over from last year, and $6,000 contracted this year; but the pay
rolls for July, August, September, and October have all been paid, including the
new building above mentioned, $1,000 spent for furniture since August, and not
one dollar from the tax year of 1904 has as yet been received, for this has just
We have no special school tax district in this county. I look upon them as
being cumbersome and annoying beyond the benefits to be derived thereby.
High Schools.--We now have two senior high schools in operation in this county,
and seven rural graded schools.
Before the granting aid to said schools by the State, had two junior high schools
and no well organized grammar schools, as we did not have the money to continue
these schools for more than six months.
This state aid has had a very marked and stimulating effect on the schools in
Free Text-Books.--I think there is more stress placed on this subject than it
deserves. When a child buys a book and pays for it he naturally feels that he
owns something, and will be much more apt to take good care of same than he would
if the books were furnished free.
When a child owns a book and the school term closes, he will take his book home,
and if he was a good student at school he will frequently refer to his book during
vacation, which would be worth many times more to the boy than the petty price of
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--I have no experience in this matter and am not
prepared to answer this question, further than to state that if the balance of
the State will adopt the text-book now in use in this county, I would have no-
objection to state uniformity.
Compulsory Education.--I am opposed under our present conditions of adopting
compulsory education, for we are not prepared for it as yet, and I have my doubts
about the wisdom of such a law under any conditions. It is undemocratic to say
the least, and I still believe that parents have some rights that should be respected.
Concentration of Schools.--?y experience in concentration of schools has not been
very satisfactory. It is a beautiful theory, but it hasn't worked to my satis-
faction. The fault may be with me.
Examinations.--I am in favor of the uniform examination law, but I have always
believed that by shortening these examinations by one half would be a marked
improvement, and I think equally as good, if not better results would be secured,
Grading Committees.--While on the ground of uniformity, our present system of
grading may have its weak points, but on the whole I prefer it to one central
grading committee, from the fact that it sometimes takes months for an applicant
to get a hearing from his papers, and this would be a hardship on teachers and
superintendents, for we might need a teacher for a school when not hearing the
result of his examination, we would not be willing to contract without first
hearing the results.
Special Tax Districts.--If the amendment to the Constitution allowing a rate of
7 mills for school purposes has passed, in my opinion special tax districts will
not be required, for with proper management a rate of 7 mills on a fair assess-
ment of the property in the State will yield enough money for our schools.
I have written this paper hurriedly and fear that I have neither done the subject
or myself justice, but will trust that the readers of same will overlook its
N. B. COOK,
Apalachicola, Fla., Nov. 1904.
Hon. W. N. Sheats.
Dear Sir:--In compliance with your request, I herewith submit the following
general report of our schools and school work in this county:
I can conscientiously say, since my last biennial report, that the schools of
old Franklin have made a decided advance, especially has this been marked in
the matter of good solid work, better attendance, better co-operation between
teacher and pupil, as well as between teacher and patron, and more enthusiasm
in the public mind over the public school system.
The people of our State are to be congratulated on the fine showing which has
been wrought out by dint of hard work of recent years, the result of which
has placed the school system of our State in line with the standard educational
work of the nation.
Buildings.--While we are able to report ;good conditions as to school work,
attendance, etc., we are not able to make any fancy display of fine build-
ings, we have preferred to keep clear of debt and have the good "old time
schoolhouse."' Our buildings, while they are not attractive, are comfortable,
and have been within the last two years repaired and made good inhabitable
school buildings at a small cost.
High Schools.--Two of our best schools were doing some high school work prior
to receiving State Aid. Since that time we have a senior high school with
an enrollment of 250 pupils, with grades maintained as per the requirements
of the law creating them. The effect upon our county school system is very
encouraging, indeed. In my humble opinion the State has made no mistake in
aiding the Senior High School. The Junior High School, one of which is main-
tained in my county with an enrollment of 175 pupils, is doing very fine work.
If the State still continues to aid these high schools the effect upon our
educational system will certainly redound to much and lasting good.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--On this subject (after some thought) I can
see several reasons why a uniformity of text books for the State would be a
good thing, provided the books could be had at reasonable prices, but unless
we can get some sort of contract at a uniform price for books, we would only
be placing ourselves in the hands of book trusts, and already the prices of
text-books are too high. The text-books of the State should be uniform, there
is no doubt in my mind as to that, but the price should be by all means guaranteed.
Free Text-Boo1s.--I am aware that this subject has been discussed and has many
advocates, and among the best thinkers of our time, but I am not prepared to
endorse the idea yett First, because the school funds are too meager to allow
it, and secondly, because it will cheapen education, and on the principle that
our people invariably place a very low estimate on things too cheap,
Compulsory Education.--I favor compulsory education. The country needs it
and as we progress she needs it the more. I feel that at least 75 per cent.
of our people desire it with such limitations as are reasonable, say sixty
days actual instruction and training.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--The time has come
for the concentration of schools and the transportation of pupils. This has
not been tried in my county for the reason, that we have no county or rural
schools, but from what I have seen in other counties in this State, I feel
that it is a great boon to the country boy and girl, and I am satisfied it
would meet the hearty co-operation of the people of the State, if they could
be made to see the real advantage of it.
Examinations,--I like our present examination laws, think they are intended
to do a great deal toward eliminating the nonprogressive teacher, but I am
not convinced yet, that they are the best tests of the real teacher, nor do
I consider the teacher worth most who holds the highest grade of certificate.
Passing the examination simply admits the applicants into the teachers' field
or fraternity, his or her ability, or real worth must be determined after a
fair trial in actual work.
Graging Committees.--The present system of grading is entirely satisfactory
in my county, so far as I can see, and has been productive of a much better
class of teachers. I think the law a little selfish in not reco.-niziig the
diplomas of good training schools for teachers in any and all states.
Special Tax Districts.--There are no special tax schools in my county, for '
the reason that we have not as yet needed them. Our finances so far have been
ample to take care of the schools, but at the present rate of progress I think
the necessity will soon force us to the crying need of more funds.
Financial.--Our school board is clear of debt, but when our financial con-
dition is compared with former years, we feel that our balance on hand is
growing smaller. Our teachers are paid in cash monthly, school terms are for
six and eight months. Our desire is to lengthen the terms just as soon as
our finances will justify.
On the whole I feel proud of the progress our schools have made and feel that
the people of the State are to be congratulated on the very earnest and thorough
manner in which you as State Superintendent have made it possible to make such
W. T. MARLIN,
County Superintendent, Franklin County.
quincy, Fla., Nov. 10, 1904.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Sir:--ri response to your request I submit the following in the order
Buildings.--We are gradually getting up better school houses. We have assisted
in erecting several school houses, such costing between three and four hundred
dollars. We aid the people in this way: When they want a school house for
any neighborhood we give the specifications, put them to work and when the
house is completed and a conveyance of the property is made to the Board of
Public Instruction, we pay them for one half of the entire cost. In this way
we are by degrees getting nice and comfortable houses for all our schools.
High Schools.--We had one semi-High School before the State aid was offered.
we now have a Junior High School in a very flourishing condition, and I under-
stand that there will be an effort to get the benefit of the $200 State aid
appropriation for a school in the county.
Uniformity of Text-Books.--There is no demand for it in this county. I do
not favor the system. There appears to be too much monopoly about it and I
think that the mechanical work in the make up of the books would be of such
an inferior grade as would make the books cost really more than they do now
under the guise of cheapness. I do not like to be imposed upon by shoddy work,
which I understand is the case in some States that have tried uniformity.
Free Text-Books.--Is it desirable that books should be furnished all of the
pupils free of cost out of County School Fund? It is not. First, I think
that the books would be taken less care of by the children.
Second, It would be a great draft on County School Funds.
Third, It would have almost as much tendency to breed diseases as it would
for the children to have clothes in common. I don't like the idea at all.
It would have the tendency to get up the feeling of entire dependence on
I think that the question of free books and state uniformity is in the interest
of some one else and not for the benefit of pupils and patrons.
Compulsory Education.--Is such a law needed? Such a law is needed only to a
limited extent in our county. I think it would be better wbre every child
compelled to attend school for four months each year from 6 or 7 to 14 years
of age, but the great trouble would be in forcing them to do so. The principle
is all right.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--These are on the
right lines. We are gradually concentrating our schools and encouraging the
idea, It is really better for both pupils and patrons and insures better
Examinations.--Is a change desirable? I think every change heretofore made
in our present examination law has made it a little worse.
Grading Committees.--Does the present system give satisfaction? It does. No
law on this line would satisfy all the kickers. Under the present examination
law, including the present method of grading, our teachers and schools are
improving, Please don't listen to the pessimist and fault-finders who always
pretend to think that a wolf is in the barn-yard.
Special Tax Schools.--We have two in operation established within the last
two years, and more are being talked about. The people have to talk about and
see the workings of these things for some time before they take a step forward.
Financial.--Is your school board in debt? It is not. Our warrants are paid
in cash on demand as soon as receipted for. We are conducting all school
matters strictly on the cash basis. The best men in the county approve of
our business methods.
Our School Term.--The sub-district No. 1 is a nine months school. We have
several schools of five and six months' terms and some of four months' term.
The Quincy negro school runs six months. All the other negro schools have
Summary.--Everybody will tell you that our school system is working better
as the years roll by and that most all of our best people are standing by the
public schools and a much deeper interest is being manifested every year and
we are gradually having better teachers and paying higher salaries and we see
nothing to check our progress but foolish legislation.
J. R. KEY, Co. Supt.
Jasper, Fla., Nov. 24, 1904.
Hon. WN.N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.
My Dear Sirt--I hereby submit the following report of educational affairs in
Buildings.--During the past two years our board has paid more attention to
building new and more comfortable houses, and repairing old ones. Most af
our country houses are sealed. A large two-story house has been built at
Jennings, at a cost of about $1,000. This has been done in the main by the
patrons there, assisted by their special tax district money.
Altogether our buildings are in 25 per cent. better shape than two years ago.
High Schools.--Our county High School at Jasper, (Jasper Normal Institute),
maintains the full course of twelve grades of the Senior High School course
and is doing some very efficient work. We are able to feel the effect of
the work of this institution on our teaching force.
A high school of ten grades is maintained at White Springs. The Jennings
school may be able soon to be counted in the number of high schools.
I strongly advise the continuance of the appropriation for State aid to High
Schools, One dollar in this way will do the State as much good as three
appropriated to the regular State schools. Many of these High Schools will
be able to prepare teachers and thus doubly be a paying investment. We find
it so here.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We are concentrating
schools from time to time as we see best, but are not transporting pupils.
Examinations.--Our present law is a good and efficient one. It is often well
to let "good enough" alone. It would indeed be a dreadful calamity for any-
thing to happen that would tend to counteract the ground that has been gained.
The present laws left alone will tend to continue to elevate the standard.
Florida is progressing. Let no backward step now be taken.
Grading Committees.--The present plan proves satisfactory here.
Special Tax Schools.--We now have three Special Tax Districts. The provisions
of the law is all to be desired and they are proving to be both popular and
Financial Condition.--At the beginning of the present scholastic year our county
was out of debt and had a net cash surplus on hand of $2,800. Two years ago
we were several hundred dollars in debt.
J. H. REID,
HERNANDO -CMTY Brooksville, Fla., Nov. 22, 1904.
I submit my bi-ennial report of school operations and conditions briefly as
Buildings.--During the past two years we have lost one school building and
contents by fire;, estimated total loss of $500 and have built three school
houses and fully equipped them with teacher's and pupils desks and chairs,
free text books, charts, maps, etc. The three buildings, including school
equipment and water facilities, cost $1,200. They are one-room frame build-
ings 20 by 30 by 12 feet.
State Aided Schools.--two schools are receiving appropriations from the State
appropriaion for the maintenance of County High and Rural Graded Schools.
The High School so assisted is situated at Brooksville. It is flourishing.
State aid has been of material benefit. The Rural Graded School receiving
State aid is located at Spring Lake. It is in a prosperous condition, in all
probability, and will be a Junior high school next year. State aid has had
a most salutory effect, stimulating pupils to greater effort, and parents to
deeper interest. The High School is now pursuing the State High School course
and the Rural Graded School the State Junior High School course. We are de-
cidedly in favor of continuing the appropriation for the maintenance of these
schools. We believe it was a wise move in the right direction. The public
revenues of the State could not be spent to better advantage.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--We believe that this would prove the greatest
iEfncus that could be fastened on the State. It would result in a book trust,
that would either increase the purchasing price or cheapen the quality of
the text books used.
2. It would fasten upon the State a series of text books, that would remain
in use for economy's sake long after the State has outgrown them.
3. The State having once adopted a series, books subsequently produced of
a better quality would be excluded. Stagnation would result in so far
as text-books could have effect. We are decidedly opposed to State
uniformity and all other forms of stagnation.
Free Text-Books.--Thirteen years of practical experience has proven to us that
free text books furnished by the county school board out of the school fund
to all the schools of the county is the cheapest and best way of supplying
children with school books. Educational advancement is untrammelled by finan-
cial conditions and the best books in the market are at the command of the
county at any and all times. Children get exactly the books they need at the
time they need them, and progress is continuous and uninterrupted.
Compulsory Law.--A majority of our people would accept with pleasure a compul-
sory school law, so adjusted as to enable farmers t6 have the use of their
older children in the farm during the planting and growing season.
Concentration and Transportation.--We favor concentration of schools and
transportation of pupils, but have been unable to put either into operation
on account of jealousy of neighborhoods. Neither can be made successful in
this section without compulsory education.
Examinations.--No better system than the present has yet been suggested for
examinations or grading committees. Until we can find a better one, we are
in favor of continuing the present. We are opposed to weakening and, to a
large extent, destroying the present system, by lengthening the life of cer-
tificated, establishing primary schools teachers of inferior scholarship
and all other schemes recently devised and put into law to enable the ignorant
and indolent indigent to butcher the minds of the young. Instead of cheapen-
ing the teacher's certificate its value should be increased by better tests
of scholarship and teaching ability.
Special Tax Schools.--The entire territory of Hernando county is covered
by special tax districts. Our people gladly vote the maximum when it is
Financial.--The school board is not in debt, and our condition is better
than it was two years ago. We are paying better salaries and a majority of
our white schools are run eight months. Some of our colored schools have
extended their term from four to six months. Our teachers are paid in cash
Our State Superintendent,--In making this our last bi-ennial report to the
present State Superintendent, who will retire at the close of this year, we
wish to bear testimony to the magnificent work accomplished under his able
We were County Superintendent under his predecessor and during the whole of
his three terms, and have been a close observer of the educational progress
of the State. Never, in the history of Florida, has greater good been done
or advancement made than during his admirable administration, and that directly
through his fearless, personal efforts. He retires leaving behind him a com-
plete and efficient educational system as can'be found anywhere in the
Our Aim.--As the people of Hernando county have appointed me to serve them
for another four years, I intend to bend all my energies to the building up
of the educational interests of the county, expecting the aid of parents,
teachers, state and county school authorities, without which all my efforts
of the Superintendent will be in.vain.
A. M. C. RUSSELL,
Hon. Wm. N. Sheats, Tallahassee,
At your request I present the following report.
Buildings, Lots, Etc.--During the last two school years we have either built out-
right, or added to and enlarged twenty-two school buildings at a cost, paid by
the county, mainly through Special Tax Districts, of $20,012.08, Our bills for
repairs have amounted to $2,612.51, and we have put into the schools, patents
desks to the amount of $2,916.91.
In addition to this, patrons and others interested have added considerably to
these figures either by work or by money paid.
Plant City has expended over $3,000 in buildings not included in the above.
The city of St. Petersburg has built a $14,000 brick Building, the first floor
of which is used for a part of the St. Petersburg Public School. A liberal and
patriotic citizen of St. Petersburg, has built at a cost of several thousand dollars,
a large brick building known as the "Annex," which has been placed at the disposal
of the schools, as an Auditorium, and hall for the Cadet company and physical
Besides this, Special Tax Districts have purchased school lots to the amount of
$6,373.23. Since the 30th of June last we have built two more good school
buildings, and added three rooms to another, all at a cost of about $4,000. This
was also done largely through Special Tax Districts.
High Schools.--We had three high schools prior to the State aid offer. Last term
we added three more, and this school year just beginning one more will apply.
Two of these are Senior High Schools, and are doing a good work for our County,
Our County High School at Tampa has a good physical and chemical apparatus, and
will soon have the necessary apparatus for the proper study of Botany and
Zoology, It is also wellAequipped for a Commercial Course.
Our High School at Plant City has recently put in apparatus for good laboratory
work, and they have also an Agricultural Dept.
The St. Petersburg High School is well-equipped for good work in Science and also
for Manuel Training and Domestic Science.
Our Junior High Schools have given quite an impetus educationally to the com-
munities in which they are located, as well as to the surrounding country, and
if the hext Legislature will continue the appropriations, these schools will
develop into very important educational factors in remote parts of the county.
They reach so many pupils that one County high school can not touch,
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--I am opposed to State Uniformity of Text-Books
or reasons too numerous to mention.
Free Text-Books.--Free text-books will probably come later, but we are not yet
financially ready for it.
Compulsory Education.--A wise Compulsory Education Law should be enacted later
on, if the seven mill amendment prevails, but just now in this county it would
not be desirable. When we have money to enforce it, and to educate allar
the children, I would welcome such a law, but not just at this time.
Concentration and Transportation.--We have tested concentration and transpor-
tation quite fairly, the results have been in the main good. It costs a little
more, but more pupils attend and the schools are far better.
Examinations, Grading Committees, Etc.--Examinations should be shorter, and
there should be a State Grading Committee, as it is impossible to have uni-
formity in results without it.
Special Tax School Districts.--On June 30th, 1902, we had fifteen Special
Tax School Districts; we had on the 30th of June 1904, thirty-one; since then
three others have been organized, and an election has been ordered for one
more, and that a very important one. For the school year ending June 30th,
1903, there were expended in cash by Special Tax Districts $8,207.51; for the
year ending June 30th, 1904, the amount expended was $12,966.89. The amount
of Special Tax assessed for the school year just begun is $22,858.47. Special
Tax Districts are quite popular. They provide the only available fund for
building purposes, and almost invariably increase the interests in schools.
I believe that they have come to stay and that others still will be organized
wherever practicable. Through this tax we have done nearly all of our build-
ing; it could, however, add wonderfully to their efficiency, if they were
organized for four years instead of two,
Financial Condition,--The total of outstanding warrants June 30th, 1904 was
$36,00918 with total cash on hand $11,128.57. Of this $13,194.29 was for
money loaned to Special Tax Districts for building purposes, and is being paid
back as each year's'taes come ih. The uncollected school tax for the year
at that time amounted to over $10,000, nearly all of which has since been
collected and has reduced the outstanding warrants considerably.
Though we are in debt more than we were two years ago, still we have a great
deal to show for it in school buildings and good furniture. Our income for
the school year upon which we are just entering will be several thousand dollars
more than last year, and the income from the Special Tax Districts will bene-
fit the schools far more than ever before.
We had some trouble last year in providing money to pay our teachers promptly,
but it was only for a short time.
We usually get money from our local banks, paying 8 per cent. interest.
Length of School Term.--For the year ending June 30th, 1903, the average
length of term was 119 days, for year just closed 111 days, one school suspending
at the end of one month on account of small attendance, and thus reducing the
average length of term. A number of the schools were taught for 160 days,
but the usual length of our country school term is from 100 to 120 days.
School Buildings of Note.--Hyde Park, Tampa, has now a very large, comfortable
eight room, brick school house, with ample grounds well-adapted for the pur-
pose. The Plant City people have improved and enlarged their school until
they now have one of the largest and best brick school buildings in the State.
St. Petersburg has a new $lh,000, brick school building that is used jointly
by the State Normal and Industrial, and the St. Petersburg public school.
The Hyde Park and Plant City schools were built by Special Tax Districts.
We have fine building sites in the First Ward, Tampa, and in Ybor City, and
during another year steps will undoubtedly be taken to erect on these, suit-
able brick buildings, such as Tampa's prosperity and importance demand,
Outlook.--The outlook educationally is very bright in Hillsborough county,
The county board has recently taken a progressive step in making Prin. J. W.
McClung, of the County High School, the City Supt. of Tampa. By close personal
supervision of all of the white schools in the City, he is, with the aid of
a very valuable and skilled corps of teachers rapidly bringing about greater
uniformity and efficiency. The Board is to be commended for his wise step.
B. C. GRAHAM,
County Superintendent Hillsborough County, Florida,
Tampa, Fla., Nov. 7, 190h.
Westville, Fla., Nov. 14, 1904.
Hon. W. N. Sheats, Tallahassee, Fla.
Dear Sirt--Replying to yours of the 1st inst.
Buildings. -There have been bilt during the past two years, seven school
houses, at a cost of about $1i500. 100 patent desks have.been purchased.
High Schools.--Number before State aid offered, 2; now in operation, 3; average
attendance, of each, about 100; grades maintained, from 8th to 10th. I think
it advisable to continue same.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--I favor uniformity of text-books, This
would save expense to children attending the different schools, and be advan-
tageous to the teachers.
Free Text-Books.--I do not think it advisable that books be furnished pupils
free of cost. I do not think they would take the proper care of them, and
in the rural districts a number would attend for a short period of time only,
for the sole purpose of obtaining free books. I oppose the free book system
unless we can have a compulsory educational law.
Compulsory Education.--I have talked this matter over with the people of my
county for the past four years, and think that at least 40 per cent of the
people of this County are in favor of such a law, and would suggest as age
limit, 7 years to 15 years; term at least 4 months in the year.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We have concentrated
a few schools with good results, but have not tried transportation of pupils.
I think the majority of our country people are opposed to it. Every man
would prefer a school near his own door.
Mode of Examination.-.I do not think a change advisable.
Grading Committees.--I think the present system gives satisfaction. I cannot
say that it tends to produce better teachers.
Special Tax Schools.--We have three sub-school districts in our County. Two
have been established during the past two years. About $500 will be expended
by the three districts this year, I think there will be several more in a
sh6rt while, as the people are showing an increased interest in education.
Financial.--Our school board is in debt in the sum of, about, $4;500, which
is about the indebtedness of two years ago, although our teachers are paid
better than they were two years ago. Our warrants are discounted at 10 per
Our school term is for four months, except the high schools, which have an
eight months term.
Yours very truly,
W. H. MARTIN,
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Nov. 18th, 1904.
Believing it to be the duty of each Superintendent to report once in two
years upon the educational affairs of his County, I beg to submit the
Buildings.--During the past two years there have been erected eight new build-
ings at an average cost of about $206.25 each. There was spent for repairs
of buildings about $O00, making a total of $2,050 spent for buildings and re-
High Schools.--Until last year we had only one High School in the county,
Jackson County High School, located at Marianna. On account of State Aid,
Sneads School was made a High School of the Junior Grade. We received from
the State $600 for Jackson County High School and $360 for Sneads School.
There will be two other schools applying for State Aid this year, one for the
Junior High School and one for Rural Graded School.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--There has been a great deal said on State
Uniformity of Text-Books, pro and con. I am against State Uniformity on
these grounds: (1) State Uniformity will keep out competition, and competi-
tion is the life of any business. (2) State Uniformity gives a cheap book,
both in price and material. (3) State uniformity is liable to throw the book
business into the hands of scheming politicians, who may thrust upon the youth
of the country very inferior books, the subject matter considered.
Free Text-Books.--I am against Free Text-Books. The county has no more'right
to furnish free text-books than it has to furnish free cradles for the babies.
Compulsory Education.--Every school official and every school teacher who has
the subject of education at heart, knows there is something needed throughout
the length and breadth of the country to make parents send their children to
school. In Florida nothing short of compulsory education will do that. I
am not in a position to discuss the limitation of such a law, as I have not
given the subject the thought that is needed. The Legislature, when such a
bill comes before it, should appoint a committee, composed of men of the
various vocations of life Ahd who are in perfect sympathy with public edu-
cation, to draft this bill.
Consolidation of Schools.--Very little has been done in Jackson County towards
the consolidation of schools. There is still an idea in this county that
there should be a school at every man's door, and the work of concentration
must be carried out very slowly.
Mode of Examinations.--(1) Rudiments of Latin should be added to the subjects
for first grade certificates.
(2) No one should hold over two third grade certificates.
Grading Committees.--There should be a State Grading Committee. (1) The ques-
tions are uniform because they are the same for all the counties. The grading
is not uniform, because each county has its own grading committee. (2) It
is not an easy matter to get a competent committee. Some counties haven't the
material for grading committees. (3) It is very difficult to keep local
committees from knowing whose papers they are grading.
Special Tax Schools.--We now have eight special tax school districts, and several
communities are arranging to form themselves into special tax districts during
the year. Five of these districts have been made during the last two years.
Financial.--The last of June, this year, found the school funds only $184 be-
hind. This, we think, is a good showing in view of the fact that four years
ago this fund was about $10,000 behind, and two years ago about $8,000 behind.
While our school fund was badly behind, yet we never at any time floated our
school warrants for discount, but borrowed money at 8 per cent and paid the
teachers cash. This year we got what money we need at 5 3/4 per cent.
School Term.--Jackson County High School and Sneads School were the only two
schools last year that ran for a term of eight months. The average length of
term for the white schools was eighty days, while for the negro schools the
average was about ,seventy nine days. Several of the communities, however,
have seen the need of longer terms and have added one and two months to their
school terms by private subscription. So far, the sub-district funds have
not been much used toward lengthening school terms, but toward improving
school buildings, and toward supplementing the salaries of teachers.
Very truly yours,
W. A. MCRAE,
I hereby transmit the following report of the condition of school affairs for
the past two years.
Buildings.--I am glad to report a very marked improvement in our School build-
ings since my last biennial report.
All of our best school houses (15 in number) have been given two coats of
white paint, improving their appearance very much. Four have received sdb-
stantial improvements, and we have built four new houses. Two of these are
large three room houses, which with their furnishings cost $1,500 and $2,000
respectively, The total cost of the improvements on school buildings for the
two years, was $3,921.49.
High Schools.--Before the State aid was offered, we had only one High School
in this County; we now have four, and maintaining these schools have given
a decided stimulus to the interest of our people in educational matters. If
the State finances will permit, we very strongly advise that the State con-
tinue their appropriations for the maintenance of these schools for in no
other way can the money be better expended.
State Uniformity of Text-Books.--Qf course, it is advisable that a certain
amount of uniformity in the text-books used in the different counties be
maintained for the convenience of those who have to move from ohe county to
another, especially in the lower grades; but this is now largely the case owing
to the benevolent interest of the American Book Company. In the higher grades,
and in our High Schools, I favor a greater latitude in selecting books, as a
selection better adapted to the needs and demands of different schools could
be had, if unrestricted in this matter.
Free Text-Books.--We are opposed to Free Text-Books on principle; it is carry-
ing paternalism a little too far. The parent that will not buy the necessary
books for his children, would not send these children if free books were
provided. We are opposed to free text-books also for financial reasons:--
When all of our more pressing needs, such as better school houses, better
equipment, and better teachers have been provided, it will be time enough
to talk about "free text-books." We are opposed also on account of the fact
that in this County there are four negro children to one white, and our
finances are taxed to the utmost to provide them with schools and teachers,
much less to furnish them with free text-books;
Compulsory Education.--Compulsory education is all right in theory, but under
present conditions, it would not do in this County; and even if the conditions
were more favorable; yet the expense of enforcing such a law, would add about
25 per cent. to the expense of maintaining our schools.
Mode of Examination.--While there are certainly some reforms that might well
be made in the present way of testing applicants for certificates, yet on the
whole the laws governing examinations are not bad. A lax enforcement of
these laws, and an injudicious selection of Grading Committees, are the most
fruitful causes of complaint against the system. We think that the questions
heretofore given, have been unnecessarily difficult; and this fault has been
more marked in some studies than others; where the idea seems to have been
to set pitfalls for the unwary, rather than to test the knowledge of the
Grading Committees.--The present system is all right where a Superintendent
will, and can appoint only careful, pains-taking, and conscientious, teachers,
holding not less than first grade certificates, as a Grading Committee.
Special Tax Schools.--There are no Special Tax Schools in this county. So
far there has been no demand for such schools, and we have been able to main-
tain a suitable school in any community that required anything better than
the ordinary ungraded school.
Concentration of Schools and Transportation of Pupils.--We are convinced that
in this plan lies the only solution of the problem of improving the rural
schools. We have, against much opposition on the part of the patrons of the
different schools to be united, combined three schools in a community where
such a combination was practicable. The school house was built at about the
centre of the school population, this house is a roomy, attractive building
with three rooms; and the children from the two other directions are hauled
to this school house by two large vans, that can seat 25 scholars, each, two
horses being required to draw them. This school has been a great success from
the very day it was opened, the enrollment of the three schools, while separ-
ated was 80, with an average attendance of 60; the enrollment of the consol-
idated school is 90, and the average attendance 75. The cost of maintaining
the present Colsolidated school is greater than that of the three separate
schools, but when the increased attendance, and quality of the instruction
imparted is considered, there can be no possible comparison as to the relative
value of the two systems, Whenever the conditions are favorable, the policy
of the Board will be to consolidate, and transport; as one consolidated school
in operation has abundantly demonstrated the value of this system,
Financial Condition,--Our financial condition is much better than it was when
we made our last biennial report. At that time we were in debt to the amount
of $59.55. My report for the last school year shows a cash balance in our
favor, of $903,39, and this notwithstanding the fact that we have paid for
new buildings, and repairs alone during this time $3,921,.9.
School Terms4.--The policy of our Board is to lengthen school terms wherever
the average attendance indicates a desire on the part of patrons for a
lengthening of the term. Five of our largest schools have terms of eight
months, and the average term of the white schools is over six months.
J. H. GIRARDEAU,
I was elected to the office of Superintendent for the county of LaFayette
in November, 1899, taking charge of the office Jan. 1st, 1900, with $4,842,92
debt hanging over the educational interest of the county, with 758 children
enrolled. My chief aim has been to free the county of debt. Although there
has been $1,087 spent for supplies, furniture etc., the enrollment has in-
creased to 1016. There have been seven special tax school districts estab-
lished, November the 1st, 1904 the school board stands with $4,083.35 in
the treasury clear of all indebtedness.
J. P. ABBOTT,
Hon. W. N, Sheats, State Supt. Public Instruction.
Dear Sirt--In compliance with your request of recent date, I cheerfully make
this general report of the work of the Lake county schools for the last two
Buildings,--We have in the last two years erected four new frame buildings
at a cost of about $950. Three of them are small one-room buildings, the other
a two-room building that will accommodate about one hundred pupils. In build-
ings and repairs the county has invested in two years $1,325 and the citizens
have contributed in work from four to five hundred dollars. Practically all