THE BOROUGH SCHOOL.
It will be observed by the report given m Wednesday's issue of the proceedings at the annual meeting of householders held on Tuesday evening for the election of a Committee for the Ashburton School District, that there being only seven candidates— the number required to be elected — these seven were declared by the Chairman of the meeting to be duly elected as the Committee for the ensuing year, and that they accordingly met as a Committee immediately after the householders' meeting and prooeeded to elect their Chairman. Now we take the earliest opportunity of pointing out that, notwithstanding the declaration of the Chairman of the meeting, the seven gentlemen referred to are not duly elected, m point of fact they are not elected at all,. and all their proceedings are liable to be upset. It is quite true that m the case of a Municipal, Road Board, or other election, if only as many candidates as are required to be returned are nominated, then such candidates can be forthwith deolared elected, but this is because the law makes provision m that behalf; but strange to say it not only does not make suoh provision m the case of School Committee elections, but distinctly prqvidea to the contrary. For on turning to Section 64 of the Act of 1877 which (modified only as to the date of eleotion by the Amending Aot of 1885) is m full force and effect, it will be found to presoribe that ** the electors present shall proceed to eleot by ballot «... a new Committee .... o( seven persons." JNo exception is made as to the procedure if only seven persons be nominated , and therefore, unnecessary and ridiculous as it may appear, a formal ballot is indispensable to a legal election. This is only another of many examples of the imperfectness of the Education Act, which certain prejudiced persons deem incapable of amendment, and shows the necessity for the passing of the School Committees' Election Bill, which has already for six successive sessions recejved the approval of the House of Representatives only to be rejected with singular obstinacy by the Upper House. Had that Bill become law, such a ridioulous anomaly as this would no longer have existed. But it does exist, and as one of the resulfs the election of a committee for Ashburton is null and void, or at anyrate voidable. The point is not a new one. The same thing took place at Waimate a year or so ago with the result that the status of the Committee was successfully challenged, and at the annual election m *-\q of the Dunedin City school districts (last year we think) no less a person 'ban Sir Robert Stout, who was present as a householder, and suggested that seven persons who had been duly nominated be declared elected, was informed by the chairman that the Act required a ballot, and was unable to gainsay it, and the ballot therefore took place, although there could be but one possible result. We write, therefore, with the utmost confidence when we say that the election of the Borough School Committee on Tuesday evening was informal and illegal, that m point of fact there was no •lection at all (a declaration by the chairman not being an election as required by the Act) and that therefore m the eye of the law there is no Borough School Committee existent. The acting committee may go on acting as a committee no doubt until their position be challenged, but their acts and proceedings will not stand if challenged and therefore we think that the best thing that can bo done is to call another meeting and begin again de novo. We are quito aware that Section 66 of the Act provides for the Board deciding any dispute as to the validity of the proceed- j ings at any election, but if that clause bo read carefully it will be found to make it incumbent upon the Board, if the present case be brought under its notice, to order a fresh election, or to appoint a Commissioner or Commissioners, for the clause goes on to say "If m any case the electors m any school district shall from any cause whatever fail to elect a Committee upon the annual day of meeting as hereinbefore provided it shall be lawful for the Board . . . to fix another day for the election of a Committee,' etc. Here the householders have failed to elect a Committee m the manner provided by the Act and there is clearly no alternative other than to call another householders meeting, unless the Board eleots instead to appoint a Commissioner or Commissioners m lieu of a Committee, under the powers conferred by Sections 67 and 68.
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