The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1889. THE BOROUGH SCHOOL.
The meeting of householders held last evening for the election of six members of the Borough School Committee is, m more respects than one, of great interest. The circumstances which brought it about arose, as is well known, out of the action of the Education Board with reference to the head-master, Mr Kneen, with reference to whose retention m the head-mastership the Board and the Committee are at issue. Bather, perhaps, we should write, a Committee of the Board and the School Committee, for, if we are correctly informed, the action taken by the Christchurch authority was that of the Appointments Committee, of which Mr Alfred Saunders is a prominent member, and not, m the first instance at anyrate, that of the Board collectively. Whether this be so or not the Board is, however, clearly responsible fcr that action, and, we presume, has no desire to shirk the responsibility. The moving cause appears to have been the fact that the number ot passes obtained at last examination was not regarded as satisfactory, and hence it was represented to the Committee that m the opinion of the Board it was desirable that Mr Eneen be asked to resign. The Committee, or rather a majority of Bix to one, dissented for the reasons following as stated by Mr Paul (one of their number), viz , " partly on the strength of their knowledge that the children were not being crammed by a lot of bookj learning that ninety out of a hundred of them would forget a fortnight after the examination, but were being intelligently taught, and they also knew that the discipline of the school was better than it had been for years past." These reasons were represented to the Board, and the Committee were backed up by a memorial by the householders, numerously signed, m favor of the retention ot Mr Kneen, but the Board were obdurate and intimated to the Committee that failing their (the Committee) calling upon the headmaster to resign, they (the Board) would exercise the powers conferred upon them by the Act. Thereupon the Committee, or rather the dis sentient majority of six, decided to appeal to the householders and resigned their seats, last night's proceedings being the consequence. 3he result of the election goes to show, that while I there was evidently a minority who were m favor of a change m the mastership, as shown by the election of Mr Silcock, the large majority were m favor of Mr Kneen's retention, five out pf the six candidates elected being of the same mind as the appealing Committecmen. To make this the more clear we give an
♦Member of old Committee. From this it will be seen that there were eleven candidates nominated, of wh«m ten were opposed to the Board's view, and one m favor of that yiew.
There were recorded a total of 326 votes, showing that some 55 householders voted, which was indeed as a matter of fact, as nearly as possible the precise number. Now the analysis shows £bat 19 individual voters voted for Jfr Silcock as representing the Board's view, and obvionsly therefore 36 individual voters cast their votes on the side of the majority of the Committee. Had then the election been conducted as all other elections are conducted — that is by single voting, and had the 36 agreed among themselves as to the particular six to be elected, the view of the majority would have been still more emphatically shown by the return of all six members of the same view as the resigning Committee men. But even without any such agreement, the result of the election is a Committee of sto 2in favor of that view. Again it will be Been that Mr Silcopk, who under the cumulative voting system comes out at the head of the list, would under the system of single voting have stood sixth while two" of the unsuccessful candidates, Messrs Cook and Steele, would have been respectively fpjirth and Jlfth of .those elected. If ever there was an occasion on which the principle of cumulative voting was clearly a bad one it was surely on this occasion when the issue was simply to ascertain the majority of the householders m favor of or against a particular courge. Broadly the result may be clear enough, but it is to some extent obscured by the operation of the | cumulative vote and by that alone. Agftin it may be noted tbftt tb« election
supplies ample proof of the necessity for the amendment of the Education Act passed m 1885, but for which upon the; resignation of six of the Committee no election would have been possible, nor could Commissioners have been appointed, and the school would have, been left without any governing body until the date of tbe annual election.
And now as to the outcome of all this. The Committee having had its action emphatically endorsed by the householders, will, we presume, again represent to the Board its opinion as to ] the inexpediency of a change being made m the head-mastership, and its reasons for those opinions, and it is to be hoped that the Board will give way, as it now can without the least sacrifice of dignity, and greatly to the advantage of its own administration of the district by the removal of a friotion which is exceedingly undesirable. If it desires, it may do so with the saving clause that the permanent retention of Mr Kneen's services shall depend upon the results as shown by the next annual inspectorial report. That is a course which would probably satisfy all parties.
ANALYSIS OP THE VOTING. X o OEh H |z< oa H Siloook, W. J. ... 19 5.3 52 13)7 *Boott, Gideon . . 32 26 5 1 '4$ Meddins, F. ..15 5341 1I 88 •BlatoD, R. . . 24 19 4 1 83 Dunn, J. MoLosd 18 12 2 2 1 — 1 32 •Panl.E. J, ..28 26 2 80 •Cook, Alfrea ..21 18 2 1 25 ♦Steel, J. R. ..21 21 21 Bonninßton, J. . . 14 12 1 1 17 Baker, Jao. W. . . 11 9 1 117 McFarlane, D. . . 13 12 1 14 Total ... 165 2418 4 2 8 326