No further changes were made in this requirement until ten years later, when the School Code was adopted. By this act the existing minimum of seven months was retained for the rural districts, while longer terms were required of the districts that included the more densely populated parts of the state. School districts were divided into four classes according to population. Districts having a population of 500,000 or more, constituted the first class; those having a population of 30,000, to 500,000, the second class; those having a population of 5,000 to 30,000, the third class; and all districts having less than 5,000, the fourth class. *64 In districts of the first and second classes, the minimum term for both elementary and high schools was made nine months; in those of the third class, eight months; and in those of the fourth class, seven months.65

By this classification the more sparsely settled districts were partially relieved of the requirements placed upon the more populous sections of the state. Moreover, as has been explained, *66 the method of distribution was also modified in favor of the weaker districts at the same time. In short, the legislation of the years 1897 to 1911 gave the country communities the benefit of larger appropriations, as well as a larger proportion of these appropriations, and at the same time authorized them to receive the subvention by complying with easier conditions than those required of the city districts.

65 Idem, P.L. p. 393. 66 Supra, p. 169.

Another important aspect of the educational policy of the districts brought under the control of the state during the latter part of this period was the remuneration of teachers. When the annual appropriation was increased from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000, by the law of 1891, *67 the teachers throughout the state seem to have anticipated substantial increases in salaries. But only very moderate increases were provided by the boards of directors of the various districts. *68 During the years 1882 to 1887 the average monthly wage of male teachers increased from $34.35 to $37.10. *69 In 1895, after the liberal additions to the subvention, it had increased to only $41.78.70 The average monthly wage of female teachers increased even less in absolute amount. It was $27.19 in 1882, $29.29 in 1887, and $32.70 in 1895. *71 Insofar as the average is a good index of the movement of wages, it is clear that the augmented subvention had little effect upon the pay of the teachers.

The reasons for the failure of the larger state appropriation substantially to benefit the teachers were two. In some districts the additional funds advanced by the state were offset by a reduction of the local tax rate; in others the money was extravagantly expended for the purchase of useless equipment; and in still others it was used to provide buildings or to pay off existing indebtedness. *72 An estimate made by the state superintendent, in 1893, placed the amount used for additional salaries at $702,000. About $778,000 went for building and rentals, and $1,072,000 for fuel and "contingencies," interest, and repayment of debts. The remainder of the $3,000,000 additional appropriation received in that year was supposed to have accumulated in the treasuries of the various districts.73

The declining proportion of the total payments going for teachers' wages in the various districts is exhibited in the following table:

67 Sec. 10, Act 9 June, 1891, P.L. p. 273.

68 Supt. of Public Instruction, Report (1893), p. viii. The superintendent complained that the subvention did not produce "the effects which ardent friends of the public schools had expected." These "effects" were a longer average school term and higher salaries.

69 Report (1914), p. 616.

70 Ibid. 71 Ibid.

72 Report (1893), p. viii.

73 Report (1893), p. viii. These calculations were intended to account for the additional $3,000,000 payable for the school year of 1892-1893.

Counties Classified According To The Proportion Of Total Common School Expenditures Paid For Teachers' Wages In 1888 And In 1894

         

Number of Counties

 

Classification of Counties paying 25% and not over 29.9%

18881

18942

Those

0

1

"

" 30%

"

"

" 34.9%

0

0

"

" 35%

"

"

" 39.9%

0

2

"

" 40%

"

"

" 44.9%

2

10

"

" 45%

"

"

" 49.9%

4

8

"

" 50%

"

"

" 54.9%

5

29

"

" 55%

"

"

" 59.9%,

16

14

"

" 60%

"

"

" 64.9%

20

3

"

" 65%

"

"

" 69.9%

15

0

"

" 70%

"

"

" 74.9%

5

0

Total number of counties included 67.3

   

1 Supt. of Public Instruction, Report (1888), Tabular Statement of Counties for the School Year ending June 4, 1888, pp. 186-193.

2 Idem, Report (1894), Tabular Statement of Counties for the School Year Ending June 4, 1894, p. 531.

3 Philadelphia is included.

The table shows that in 1888 forty of the sixty-seven counties paid out 60 per cent or more of their expenditures for teachers' salaries. In 1894, however, only three counties expended so large a proportion for that purpose.