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TWENTY-SECOND ANNUAL REPORT

OF THE

STATE COMMISSIONER OF COMMON SCHOOLS.

To the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

GENTLEMEN: As required by law, I have the honor to submit the Twenty-second Annual Report of the School Department of Ohio.

School officers, and other persons who are required to report to this department, have been quite as prompt as heretofore in making returns. There are no reasons why school officers and teachers should not comply strictly with the requirements of the law, which has fixed the 8th of November as the latest limit of time for this office to wait for the statistical information received from county auditors and from boards of education—no reasons except those arising from either incompetency or indifference on the part of some of those by whom these returns must be made. The statistical information sent out from this office, through your honorable body, to the public should be complete and accurate. The interested reader--and all tax-payers, all citizens of Ohio, should be interested in what done with the State's gratuity so liberally given for the support of free schools—the interested reader should be able to find in this report something reliable respecting the condition, the cost, and the worth of the public schools.

It is my duty to say to you that it is my honest conviction that a portion of the statistical information collated in the following tables is not so complete nor so reliable as it should be. It is the best that can be obtained--something more than the happy guess of the several county auditors of Ohio. The opportunities of these officers to know the actual condition of the schools of their several counties, and their ability to report accurately from the anomalous, irregular, often entirely incorrect returns sent from townships and sub-districts, such facts as are required by this department, are as well known to your honorable body as to the Commissioner of Schools. Not a county of Ohio has made all its returns to this office entirely correct. Fifty per cent. of the Institute Fund reports have

been returned to the proper county officer for correction, and these corrections have usually related to the balance carried over from the previous year. Certainly seventy-five per cent. of the consolidated reports from county auditors were materially incorrect when sent to this office, and these reports are more nearly comprehensible than any other returns sent to the School Department. One county reported but seven of its eleven districts; the report from another county was completely incomprehen sible, and scarcely correct in any single feature of information required. One county reported one hundred and ninety-four per cent. of attendance, and, indeed, several counties reported a pluperfect attendance, and many of them have returned an average daily attendance greater than the whole number of pupils enrolled. Inaccuracies in the financial statements of the county reports, from thirty-one thousand dollars down to one dollar, are frequent.

This mention of some few of the most glaring inaccuracies found in the school returns after these reports have been revised, and built up, and in some instances almost manufactured, by intelligent and efficient county auditors, is made through no desire to find fault with the army of school officers and school teachers who, by their tardiness or indifference or incompetency, compel county auditors to guess at what should be a plain statement of fact, and often to stand close upon the verge of despair in the effort at guessing; but the statement is made from a sense of official duty, in order that the public may know the worth of the statistical information, collected through much tribulation, and, to some extent, the necessity for a change in the administration of the county school system. It is proper to say, in this connection, that the statistical information gathered from city and village school districts, provided with intelligent and efficient supervision, is generally correct. This is, to a great extent, due to the fact that city and village districts are provided with efficient supervision, and although the superintendents of these schools are not required by law to make a report to this office of the school statistics of their several districts, they usually assist the legal officers in making their reports. If the superintendents of city and village districts were compelled to make directly to the county auditor, and in duplicate to this office, all the returns respecting their several districts, and if the country.districts were provided with supervision similar to that already given to city and village districts, and these superintendents of country districts were compelled to report all school information, connected with the country schools, directly to the county auditor, and in duplicate to this office, a vast army of indifferent reporters could be dispensed with, and one man for each district, intelligent, thoroughly acquainted with the school condition to be reported, would be responsible to the school department for the completeness and accuracy of his report. Complete and accurate statistical information would then go out to the public, deeply interested in the cost and value of the common schools.

Few of the county auditors of Ohio have not sent complaint to this office asserting the general inaccuracy of school returns sent them by township clerks, and the unnecessary and culpable tardiness of these township officers in making these returns. These evils, which add much to the labor and expense and diminish the value of the report from this department, can and should be remedied by legislation.

The real worth of our most excellent common school system can never be measured or known until some means for securing correct statistical information-some plan for collecting school facts as they exist-is devised and adopted. The real worth of our educational system, “the most valuable results of our educational effort," can not be fully estimated from facts contained in a report which derives its information from such sources as are now open to the State Commissioner of Schools.

It is due to county auditors to say that they very generally indicate a desire to be prompt and accurate in making their reports. They claim to be hindered by the tardiness or incompetency of township clerks, whose excuse for whatever is lacking or wrong in their returns is based on the incompetency of teachers.

The following table is a summary of the leading facts shown in the tables compiled from the returns of school officers:

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Number of youth of school age in the State in September, 1874 .. 985,947
Number of school districts in the State......

1,942 Number of sub-districts in township districts..

10,433 Number of school-houses in towhship districts

10,695 Number of school-houses in other districts

1,139 Number of school-houses erected within the year..

544 Cost of school-houses erected within the year....

$1,010,786 Estimated value of school-houses, including grounds..

19,876,504 Number of teachers necessary to supply the schools.

15,087 Number of different teachers actually employed...

22,492 Average number of weeks the schools were in session.

28.5 Number of pupils enrolled in the schools....

712,129 Average number of pupils in daily attendance.

435,349 Number of school officers.....

40,004 Total of receipts, including balance on hand September 1, 1874-- $11,749,360 76 Total of expenditures...

8,170,959 98

GENERAL TABULAR STATEMENTS

ND COMPARISONS.

RECEIPTS.

$215,718 85

Receipts from interest on irreducible funds, as reported by Auditor of State
From rents and accrued interest on deferred payments due on sale of

school lands.....
The aggregate amount received from the latter source in 1874 was
Balance on hand September 1, 1874......

22,283 19

13,192 59 3,037,948 90

From State school tax (one mill on each dollar of taxable property) in 1875. $1,560,397 93 From same source in 1874 ...

1,491,510 13

Increase

$68,887 80

From interest on irreducible funds and rents of school lands in 1875......
From same source in 1874

$238,002 04 225,523 20

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Grand total of receipts in 1875, including balance on hand Sept. 1, 1874...$11,749,360 76 1874,

1873... 11,060,339 68 Increase

$689,021 08

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