The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:
Section 1. The state board of education shall appoint biennially a state board of examiners, who shall consist of three professional teachers, and the state superintendent of public instruction shall be ex officio the chairman of the said board.
Sec. 2. The state board of school examiners shall prepare and recommend to the public school teachers of the state, through the several county supervisors, a course of reading and professional study for teachers, and such outlines of methods of teaching and school government as may in its judgment be helpful in school room work, and perform such other duties as are hereinafter provided.
Sec. 3. The state board of school examiners shall have power to grant first grade life certificates, which may be used in any county in the state, and shall furnish to the public, through the several county supervisors, at least one month before the regular annual county examination of teachers, full information as to the nature and character of the requirements for such first grade life certificates; it shall annually prepare and furnish to the several county supervisors a set of examination questions covering subjects required by law to be taught in the public schools of the state, which shall be submitted at the regular annual county examination of teachers in July to all applicants for a first grade life certificate under such rules and regulations as the state board of school examiners may prescribe. The state board of school examiners shall examine and grade the papers of all applicants for a first grade life eertificate, and shall issue said certificate to such applicants as are properly qualified and justly entitled thereto, and all examination papers of applicants to whom first grade life certificates shall have been granted under this Act, shall be kept on file in the office of the state superintendent of public instruction: Provided, that each applicant for a first grade life certificate shall pay in advance to the county supervisor the sum of five dollars, which shall be reported to the county board of education and paid into the general school fund of the county; Provided, further, that every first grade life certificate to continue valid and operative, shall be renewed by the state board of school examiners every five years, and before said board shall renew said certificate, it shall be accompanied with an affidavit of the teacher holding said certificate, that he or she has been actually engaged in teaching school since receiving said certificate or since its last renewal, and no charge shall be made for such renewal.
Sec. 4. The meetings of the state board of school examiners shall be held at the call of the state superintendent of public instruction and the members shall receive no compensation other than their traveling expenses and board while attending the meeting, an itemized statement of which shall be kept in the books of the state superintendent of public instruction.
Sec. 5. The office of the county examiner is hereby abolished, to take effect on the first Monday in July, 1897.
Sec. 6. The board of county commissioners, together with the clerk of the Superior Court and the register of deeds of each county, shall on the first Monday in June, 1897, and triennially thereafter, elect three men of their county, of good business qualifications and known to be in favor of public education, who shall constitute a county board of education, which board shall enter upon the duties of their office on the first Monday in July following their election, and shall assume all the powers and duties which the county commissioners now have regarding the public school matters of the county.
Sec. 7. The county board of education of each county, together with the clerk of the Superior Court and the register of deeds, shall on the first Monday in July, 1897, and biennially thereafter, elect a county supervisor of schools, who shall be a practical school teacher at the time of his election, or has at least one year's experience in teaching school, and who shall be of good moral character and liberal education, and shall hold his office for a term of two years from the date of his election and until his successor is elected and qualified.
Sec. 8. The county board of education of each county on the first Monday in July, 1897, shall divide their county into as many school districts as there are townships in said county, and shall on the said first Monday in July, 1897, and biennially thereafter, elect in each of said school districts five intelligent men of good business qualifications, who are known to be in favor of public education, who shall serve for two years from the date of their appointment, as school committeemen in said district and until their successors are elected and qualified. If a vacancy should at any time occur in said committee by death, removal or resignation, it shall be the duty of the county board of education to appoint a suitable person in said district to fill said vacancy until his successor is elected and qualified: Provided, however, that not more than three members of the said school committee shall belong to the same political party.
Sec. 9. The school committee shall establish and locate in their district, schools for the white race and schools for the colored race, and in so doing shall consult the convenience of the white children in locating the schools for the whites and the convenience of the colored children in locating the schools for the colored: Provided, however, that there shall not be established in any school district a greater number of schools for either race than will give each school an average of fewer than sixty-five pupils.
Sec. 10. The county board of education, together with the county supervisor, shall, on the first Monday in January each year, apportion the school fund of the county to the various school districts in said county, per capita, which apportionment shall be divided and reapportioned by the school committee to the various schools for the whites and colored of their district in the manner hereinafter provided: Provided, that the county board of education, before apportioning the school fund to the various school districts, shall reserve as a contingent fund an amount sufficient to pay the salary of the county supervisor and per diem and expenses of the county board of education.
Sec. 11. It shall be the duty of the school committee to distribute and apportion the school money of their district so as to give each school in their district, white and colored, the same length of school term, as nearly as may be each year, and in making such apportionment the said committee shall have proper regard for the grade of work to be done and the qualifications of the teachers required in each school, white and colored, within their district.
Sec. 12. The school committee of each district herein provided for, shall, before entering upon the duties of their office, take the oath of office as now prescribed by law for school committeemen, and shall, as soon after their election and qualification as practicable, not to exceed thirty days, meet and elect from their number a chairman and secretary, and shall keep a record of their proceedings in a book to be kept by them for that purpose. The name and address of the chairman and secretary of each district committee shall be reported to the secretary of the county board of education and recorded by him in a book kept for that purpose.
Sec. 13. The school committee of each district shall on the second Monday in January each year, meet at such a place in their district as the chairman may designate for the purpose of apportioning the school fund of their district to the various schools, white and colored, in their districts in the manner hereinbefore provided for; and the other meetings of the committee for the purpose of selecting teachers for the schools in their district and for the transaction of such other business as pertains to their office shall be at such time and place as the chairman may designate.
Sec. 14. The school committee of each district are required to furnish to the county supervisor a census report of all the children, white and colored, of school age, in their district, and the blanks upon which said reports are to be made shall be furnished to the various school committees by the county supervisor on the first Monday in May each year, which report shall be duly verified under oath by at least one member of the committee, and returned to the county supervisor on or before the first Monday in June, each year, and any committee failing to comply with the provisions of this section, without just cause, shall be subject to removal.
Sec. 15. All orders for the payment of teachers' salaries, for building, repairs, school furnishings, or for the payment of money for any purpose whatsoever before it shall be a valid voucher in the hand of the county treasurer, shall be signed first by at least three members of the committee, then by the county supervisor who shall place his seal upon it: Provided, however. that no order shall be signed by the county supervisor for more money than is to the credit of that district for the fiscal year.
Sec. 16. The school committee of each district shall keep a book in which shall be kept an accurate account of all money received by them from the apportionment of the county school fund, and from all other sources whatsoever, and shall also keep an accurate account with each school in their district of the money apportioned by them to said school and received by the teacher from pay pupils, and the amount expended by the committee of said school for teachers' salaries and all other purposes.
Sec. 17. The county board of education shall meet annually at the court house in the said county on the first Mondays in June, July, September and January, and may sit from day to day until such matters as may properly come before them are adjudicated, and may meet at such other times upon the call of the chairman of the board as may be necessary: Provided, that the compensation of the members of said board shall not exceed two dollars per diem and mileage as is now allowed to the board of county commissioners.
Sec. 18. The county supervisor shall be ex officio the secretary of the county board of education, and shall see that all moneys belonging to the school fund are properly paid in to the treasurer and properly applied, and his further duties shall be to examine teachers, for which he shall require a fee in advance of one dollar on his regular examination days, which shall begin on the second Thursdays in July, September, November and April, every year, and for the examination of teachers at any other time than above named, he shall require of such applicants a fee of $1.50, in advance, and all of said fees for examination both at the public and private examinations, shall be paid by the county supervisor to the treasurer of the county board of education to go to the general school fund of the county. The place for holding the examination of teachers shall be at the county seat, but other places in said county may be designated by the county supervisor when in his discretion it may be for the convenience of the teachers of his county.
Sec. 19. Third grade teachers' certificates are hereby abolished, and there shall be but two grades of teachers' certificates with the same requirements for the first grade and the second grade as are now required by law.
Sec. 20. The compensation of the county supervisor shall be not less than two dollars nor over three dollars per day for such days as he shall be actually engaged in the duties pertaining to his office, and he shall present monthly to the county board of education an itemized account with an affidavit attached, stating that the services therein charged have been in fact rendered, whereupon, if approved by the county board of education, the chairman of the board shall issue a warrant upon the treasury for the payment of the amount due the county supervisor for said services.
Sec. 21. It shall be the duty of the county supervisor to advise with the teachers as to the best methods of instruction and school government, and to that end he shall keep himself thoroughly posted as to the progress of education in other counties, cities, and states; he shall have authority to correct abuses, and to this end he may, with the concurrence of a majority of the school committee of the district, suspend any teacher in said district who may be guilty of any immoral or disreputable conduct, or who may prove himself incompetent to discharge efficiently the duties of a public school teacher or who may be persistently neglectful of said duties. The county supervisor shall be required to visit the public schools of his county while in session but under the direction of the county board of education, and shall inform himself of the condition and needs of the various schools within his jurisdiction.
Sec. 22. The school committee of any district, with the concurrence and approval of the county supervisor and the county board of education, may combine and use the funds of their district in such manner as, in their judgment, may unify and improve the school interests of their district.
Sec. 23. The county board of education may provide for an institute for each race of at least one week's duration annually, to be conducted by the county supervisor or some practical educator well qualified to give instruction on the branches taught in the public schools and the best methods of teaching the same, and on the history and theory of education.
Sec. 24. In case the State superintendent shall have sufficient evidence at any time that any county supervisor or any member of the county board of education is not capable of discharging, or is not discharging, the duties of his office as required by this Act, or is guilty of immoral or disreputable conduct, he shall report the matter to the county board of education, which shall hear evidence in the case, and if, after careful investigation, they find sufficient cause for his removal, they shall declare the office vacant at once and proceed to elect his successor: Provided, however, that either party may appeal from the decision of the county board of education to the state board of education, which shall have full power to investigate and review the decision of the county board of education. The decision of the State board of education shall be final.
Sec. 25. In case the county supervisor shall have sufficient evidence at any time that any member of the district committee is not capable of discharging, or is not discharging, the duties of his office, he shall bring the matter to the attention of the county board of education, which shall thoroughly investigate the charges and shall remove said committeeman and appoint a successor if sufficient evidence shall be produced to warrant his removal and the best interests of the schools in his district demand it.
Sec. 26. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any public school systems operating under special laws or charters.
Sec. 27. That nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to interfere with the adoption of text-books for the public schools by the county board of education, as is provided by law.
Sec. 28. All laws and clauses of laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.
Sec. 29. This Act shall be in force from and after its ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this 6th Day of March, 1897.
Daniel L. Russell, Jr., Governor
State of North Carolina,