This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
A period of four years had thus elapsed and only two schools had been recognized. There can be no doubt that the establishment of the normal schools was slower than had been anticipated, and the advocates of better training for teachers soon began to revive the proposal of a subvention for their assistance.
The question may be asked why the state did not establish these training schools and maintain them under its own administration. Such a policy had been advocated by the state superintendent in 1854, but the legislature refused to accept it. *68 It was argued that while public normal schools had been successfully established in other states they were not suited to Pennsylvania. The principal objections to state administration were: (1) The state could not afford to establish a sufficient number of schools; (2) the instructors would be less diligent and devoted to their duties than if the institutions were privately owned; (3) politics might enter; and (4) less attention would be given "the important subject of Christian morality than is due to it . . . " The advantages to be gained by state administration were, it was asserted: (1) The uniformity which such administration would insure; (2) greater ability of the faculty in such institutions; and (3) the non-sectarian character of the state schools. But the superintendent believed that the advantages of the state school might be combined with those of the private school, *69 and the law of 1857 was the product of this combination. Probably the strongest reason for the abandonment of the plan for state schools, which had been advocated in 1853 and 1854, was the unwillingness of the state legislature to provide adequate funds.
It was soon evident, however, that the plan of 1857 would not be carried out quickly enough, since by 1861 only two schools had been opened and ten districts were as yet unprovided for. In 1860 the legislature began to aid the one existing school in a small way. *70 In the following year the legislature made an unconditional gift of $5,000 to each of the two schools then recognized. *71 The amount of this appropriation was deducted from the annual subvention to common schools, *72 probably because the normal schools were regarded as an adjunct to the common school system.
68 Supt. of Common Schools, Report (1857), p. 19.
69 Supt. of Common Schools, Report (1856), pp. 16-20.
70 Act 3 April, 1860, P.L. pp. 638-639. The state merely assumed the expenses of publishing the recognition of the institution as a normal school, and the cost of diplomas and certain other incidental items of a similar character. The total amount of these expenditures was limited to $500.
71 Act 18 April, 1861, P.L. p. 399.
The Millersville Normal School was owned by a private corporation whose stockholders, it may be assumed, had invested their money partly for the purpose of earning dividends. The Edinboro school, on the other hand, had been established through the liberality of people within the district and was in no sense a money-making venture. These facts caused the state superintendent to suggest that the stockholders of the Millersville institution should be required to cancel stock equal to the amount of any subsidies received from the state. *73 In making this proposal the superintendent was clearly in the right. The state obviously should not make appropriations to increase the capital assets of private corporations, unless it retains at least a reversionary right to these assets.
In 1862 the legislature passed the Millersville institution by but gave the Edinboro school $5,000, requiring certain guarantees for the public use of the funds appropriated. *74 The suggestion of the state superintendent that care should be taken to prevent the stockholders from profiting by the state appropriations had thus apparently been favorably received. In 1863 appropriations were made to the Millersville and the Mansfield75 institutions subject to limitations imposed for the purpose of guarding the state's financial interests. Both schools were required not to alienate any of their property, or to use it for other than educational purposes without first repaying the amount of any subsidies received from the state; both were required to reduce capital stock by the amount of the subsidy granted; both were prohibited from paying more than six per cent on the reduced capitalization. *76 In 1864, and again in 1865, the state made appropriations to these two schools with the same conditions attached.
In 1866, however, a new policy was adopted. Each of the schools recognized by 1865 had been paid, or promised a subsidy of $15,000. This money was to be used to pay debts or to erect buildings. But these gifts had not reduced the tuition charged students, *77 and, since the districts had failed to avail themselves of the opportunity of educating teachers at the minimum charge, the state had actually accomplished little to encourage teachers to secure the normal training. The state superintendent pointed out that the purpose of the appropriations should be the reduction of the cost of securing this training. Following his advice, the legislature, in 1866, provided that the appropriations should be used for the benefit of prospective teachers. The subvention of that year was distributed in the following manner: Each school was allowed fifty cents a week for each registered student over seventeen years of age who should sign a declaration of his intention to teach in the common schools. If the student had been disabled in the military service of the United States, or of Pennsylvania, or if his father had lost his life in the military service of either nation or state, the amount of the weekly payment was increased to one dollar. Finally, any student who, having graduated from any of the recognized normal schools during the year 1866-67 should sign an agreement to teach two years in the common schools was entitled to receive fifty dollars. The amount of the weekly allowance was paid directly to the school, which was required to deduct it from the tuition and fees payable by the student. *78 To prevent fraud or misapplication of the subvention each school was required to make detailed reports to the state superintendent before any payment could be made from the state treasury. *79 The amount of money appropriated to meet the above subvention was $10,000, and if any part remained after satisfying all claimants, such remainder was to be divided equally among the schools for the purchase of books and equipment. *80
73 Supt. of Common Schools, Report (1861), p. 29.
74 Act 11 April, 1862, P.L. p. 461.
75 This school had only recently been recognized.
76 Sec. 29, Act 14 April, 1863, P.L. p. 365.
77 Supt. of Common Schools, Report (1865), pp. 24-25.
78 Sec. 16, Act 11 April, 1866, P.L. pp. 73-74,