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EXTRACTS FROM "HANSARD."

SCHOOL COMMITTEE ELECTIONS.

In moving the second reading of the Educational Franchise Bill, Major Steward referred to the different interpretations of the present Act in different parts of the country, and cited the muddle which this had caused in Ashburton, and the contrary decisions wthin 48 hours of each other, by the North Canterbury and Wellington Boards on the teni question. We proceeded to say:— "When the law is such that one Board can rule in one direction and another in a directly contrary way, something surely ought to be done. It has ako been asked that opportunity should be given for a more deliberate choice of Committeemen. The Minister of Education, who was also Premier at the time— l refer to Sir Robert Stout — when seme years ago, I had a Bill limited to the question of cumulative voting, suggested that it was very desirable that there should be provision made for prior nomination. The 8 11 of last session did contain a provision for prior nomination, and I was happy to have the support of the then Minister of Education, who is not now a member of the Government, Mr Fisher, for all the proposals of the Bill. These proposals are still contained in the Bill. The only point upon which tbere has been any real difference of opinion has been that of cumulative vote. It is proposed to repeal the cumulative vote, as waß proposed last year, an-f as a large rmjority of this House thinks sin uld be done. I woud draw the attention of the House to the fact that during ihe recess a Bill of a more ambiti»v> kind, a Bill which would upset all our educational machinery and replace it with something ewti ely r.«w, has been circulated. That Bi;l contemplated, as this cne does, that there should be only one vote for one candidate. I may claim that Curing two Administrations I have had the countenance of the Minister of Education. There are two other matcers provided for in the Bill by way of proviso to section 4. One of them I have prac ically dealt with in pass ng. It removes the dirfi.ulty in the way of the inlcrpretati n of the term ' householder " by expressly declaring that a dwelling-house shall not be taken to inolude a tent or temporary structure. An Hon Member, — How about the diggings? Mjor Steward. —Most diggers have ''houses." The other provi.o deals- with this matter: It appears that at any rate in one d strict the master of the Bchocl has been eiected a member of the Committee, and, I believe, also as Chairman of the Committee. Mow, it seems a very peculiar thing thit such should be the case, because, if thac is possible under the Act as it stands at present, then it follows that in a large school like the East Christchurch bchool, whf re there are some thirteen hundred children aftd and probab.y eight or nine male teachers, it would be quite possible for the majority of the Committee to consist of masters, who could give themselves as many holidays as they liked.— (An Hon Member.— The Education Board would interfere )— lt is possible that they might ; but a difficulty, as my honorable friend will see, arises owing to a recent Supreme Court decision as to the mcamngofthe word '♦ consult, • the decision being that the Education Board cannot act in certain matters without the consent of the School Committees. At any rate that is the moot point, and if the Committee were so constituted I doubt ii the Board would get its consent.

Mr Khodes seconded the motion, remarking that the main provisions of the Bill were agreed to by the House in its first session. Mr Allan in supporting the second reading read the following communication from the School [Commuted' Conference at Dunedin . —•. 1 hat this Conference committee urge upon the Otago members of the House of Reprelentatives the urgent necessity that exists for the repeal of the clauses in the Education Act which relate to the election of the School Committees by the system known as the cumulatve vote, which has utterly failed to attain the ends for which it was initiated, and is productive of much dissatisfaction and even scandal,' Mr Fergus said that Government did not intend to oppose the Bill, but individually he could not assent to some of is provisions, which he thought would tend to impair the •tttciency of the system. There were sometimes two brothers, or perhaps three mates living in the same house, who weie interested in school affairs. He would !' kc t0 ,?« c thc "elector" included in the qualification clause, and would move to that effect in Committee. Mr Saunders thought the proposal to add the word «• elector" would be an advantage, and approved of the Bill which he hoped wou d pass.

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EXTRACTS FROM "HANSARD." Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2170, 11 July 1889

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