Armstrong County Schools in 1914
One of the defects of the present school system is the lack of a permanent school fund for use in emergencies. In case of a panic the appropriation is liable to fail and the schools will be helpless until the next meeting of the Legislature. Texas has a fund of $52,000,000.
Over forty-two years ago the historian Smith, who was then county school superintendent of Armstrong, stated that the best teachers in Austria were selected for the rural schools, and at the convention of 1913 the same statement was made by Prof. Corson of the Ohio school board. Yet the present rule is to send graduates of the high schools to "break in" at the rural schools, to the injury of the scholars and the doubtful benefit of the teachers. "As the teacher, so the school is."
Many improvements have been made, however, in the school administration, books are furnished by the State, and last year (1912) the State appropriation for all purposes was $15,000,000.
Medical inspection has been introduced into some of the schools, but is not compulsory. The townships that have medical inspection are fourteen, and those without number eleven. Three are not reported. Last year in the State inspection 750 districts were examined, with 145,000 pupils, 111,000 proving defective in some way. Defective vision was the greatest trouble, with teeth and lungs closely following. Of the 3,572 schools examined 1,100 had unsanitary closets. In one of the districts of Armstrong county almost one-half of the children had some more or less serious ailment. Nine of the boroughs of this county have the inspection and three have not. It is to be hoped that the next historian of this county will not have to record a single township or borough without this necessary adjunct of modern educational methods. And that most vital of all necessities of the country school as well as the farmer - good roads - should not longer be neglected as in the past.
In 1876 the whole number of common schools in this county was 261; average number of months taught, 5.9; male teachers, 163; female teachers, 106; average salaries per month of male teachers, $41.12; female, $34.40; scholars, male, 6,730, female, 5,933; average attendance, 8,252; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 76 cents; tax levied for school purposes and building schoolhouses, $75,719.25; received from State appropriation, $10,480.08; from taxes and all other sources, $87,854; total receipts, $98,334.08. Expended: For building, renting and repairing schoolhouses, etc., $22,949.37; teachers' wages, $47,711.68; fuel, fees of collectors, etc., $21,068.53; total expenditures, $91,729.58.
In the year 1913 the number of schoolrooms in the county, including the boroughs, where there are several grades, was 413; the average months to each yearly session was 7 3/4; the number of male teachers was 118; number of female teachers, 304; average salaries of the male teachers in the county, outside of the boroughs mentioned below, was $51.40 per month; average salaries of female teachers, exclusive of the boroughs, $42.63 per month; number of male scholars on the entire county roll, 7,302; female scholars, 5,963; average attendance, entire county, 11,179; average cost per month for each scholar in the county, including the boroughs, $2.03; amount of tax levied for educational purposes, including boroughs, $200,134.11; appropriation from State, $76,040.91; amount received from all other sources, $273,227.07; total value of all schoolhouses in the county $708,504; amount paid as salaries to teachers, $168,910.42; expended for fuel, repairs, water, light, etc., $130,281.56.
In comparison with the salaries paid teachers in the country schools of the county the averages of male and female salaries in the boroughs of Kittanning, Ford City, Wickboro, Freeport, Leechburg and Apollo are presented. Male salaries, $116.63; female salaries, $59.64; the number of months taught in the borough schools averages nine.