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Zlic Cambrian.


[No title]

------------,t UNAUTHORISED…


t UNAUTHORISED SCHOOL BOARD EXPENDITURE. IMPORTANT JUDGMENT. The decision of the Queen's Bench Court in the case of the Queen v. Cockerton, ex- parte Hamilton and others, will be a sad blow to "progressive" school boards, and in an equal degreo a matter of rejoicing to struggling ratepayers. Shorn of legal tech- nicalities, its effect is to warn the school boards that they must stick to their proper functions. Iu tho particular case which came before the Court, the facts were very simple. The School Board of London, it was stated,, has a total of 547,000 scholars in day schools and 29,000 in evening schools. Of these scholars 4,800 in day schools and 3,800 in evening schools were receiving in- struction in science and art subjects which are not provided for in the Elementary Schools Code. The auditor disallowed tii.i cost of this education on the ground that it was not lawful for the Board to pay the ex- penses of these schools or classes out of the School Beard rate or school funds, such edu- cation being provided for separately under the Science and Art Department, South Ken- sington, and the Technical Education grantp. The Court of Queen's Bench judgment sup- ported the view taken by the auditor, and this decision will affect almost every large Board in the country—Birmingham, it is thought to an exceptional extent. The worst of the case i& that it leaves our educa- tional system in something of a muddle. Under the Act of 1870 a board school must be one in which the principal part of the education given is elementary, but, as Mr. Justice Wills observed, that provision con- tains a distinct intimation that a portion of the instruction may be more or less advan- ced. In his- opinion, however, such second- ary or advanced instruction must be confined to children, so that the position of Boards which have made, a feature of classes for adults—as has been done in Birmingham- is very seriously affected. It is plain that we should have a more exact definition of the duties of various authorities. This un- authorised expenditure on the part of the London Bcard has been going on for years, and yet it has only just been detected and objected to. Such a state of affairs should not be possible.