This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
Subventions to privately owned educational institutions, other than normal schools, were neither numerous nor important during this period. Several grants of large amounts were, it is true, made to medical colleges, and to the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, but since these grants were always for founding, equipping, or maintaining hospitals that rendered free treatment to the indigent sick, they are properly classed with subventions to charities. There were, however, several educational grants that deserve brief description.
The office of county superintendent, which was created in 1854, was established in the face of considerable opposition from local boards of directors and from the taxpayers in general. The authors of the law, therefore, sought to allay this opposition by providing that the county superintendents should be elected by conventions of the local school boards, but paid by the state. The conventions also fixed the salaries of the superintendents. *96 The salaries of these officers were, however, included in the appropriation to common schools. Philadelphia, having no county superintendent, received the amount which would have fallen to the county had no deduction been made for the salaries of the superintendents. *97
The principal duties of the county superintendent were to examine and to pass upon the competence of teachers, to receive, to inspect, and to transmit to the state superintendent the reports of the boards of directors upon which the share of the district in the subvention to common schools depended, and to supervise the work of teachers. It was necessary, therefore, that the state superintendent should have the authority to control or discipline his representative in each county, and the law provided that the state officer might remove the county superintendent for neglect of duty, incompetency or immorality, and appoint another in his stead until the next triennial convention of directors. *98 The state accomplished two purposes by means of the payment of the salary of the local superintendent. It succeeded in getting the new office into the school system with a minimum of local opposition and placed it in such a relation of dependence upon the state treasury that no objection could reasonably be made to the power of removal vested in the state superintendent.
A small and by no means significant subvention was found in an act of 1855, which provided that the state superintendent should supply each board of directors with the Pennsylvania School Journal. *99
A more important subvention, especially in its later development, was the grant made at intervals to the Farmer's High School. *100 This institution, whose board of trustees was incorporated in 1855, *101 at once requested aid from the state treasury and for a time was successful in obtaining it.
96 Act 8 May, 1854, P.L. pp. 625-627.
97 Idem, p. 629. 98 Idem, p. 628.
99 Act 8 May, 1855, P.L. p. 511.
100 Afterwards called the State Agricultural College of Pennsylvania,
101 The first act of incorporation was that of 15 April, 1854, P.L., pp. 342 ff. But the act of the following year under which the school was organized, repealed that of 1854. See Act 22 Feb., 1855, P.L. pp. 46 ff.
From the first the state was represented on the board of directors of the Farmer's High School. The board was composed of the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the president of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society, the president of the school, and nine other members elected indirectly by the state and county agricultural societies. *102 Because of the importance of the interests that it served, because it was in no sense a local institution, and because of the representation of the state on its board of trustees, this was an institution that the state should have aided very liberally. But it received very little assistance for many years. In 1857, $25,000 was appropriated for the erection of a building and $25,000 more was promised if an equal amount should be raised by the contributions of individuals. *103 Three conditions were attached to this grant. The school was required, if at any time the number of students seeking admission exceeded its capacity, to admit applicants from the several counties in proportion to the number of taxable inhabitants within each. It was also required to make a chemical analysis of soils and fertilizers, gratis, for any citizen who asked it. Periodical reports to the newspapers in each county of the results of all experiments performed at the school was another condition. *104 No one could call these conditions onerous.
In 1861 the friends of the school made another appeal for state aid. The building, which had been begun with the money previously appropriated, had not been completed because of lack of funds. It was pointed out to the legislature that in its unfinished condition the building was subject to rapid deterioration and a further appropriation was asked to prevent the wasting of the earlier one, and to put the school in working order. The legislature granted $49,900 on condition that before any part of the appropriation was paid, a contract with a reputable builder to finish the work for the amount of the grant should be placed in the hands of the auditor general. *105 In only one respect was this grant inadequate: The state did not provide for inspection of the building before the entire amount of the grant was paid.
102 Act 22 Feb. 1855, P.L. pp. 46-47.
103 Act 20 May, 1857, P.L. pp. 617-618.
105 Act 18 April, 1861, P.L. pp. 392-393.