Davidson County Schools
Report of J. B. Killebrew, Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Tennessee to the Thirty-Eighth General Assembly. January 1873 Page 28 DavidsonTranscribed by Debie Cox.
The County Superintendent has furnished us the following information in regard to school matters in this county: Nashville, Dec 20, 1872 J. B. Killebrew, Assistant Superintendent:
In answer to your circular, asking for “statistical information on the subject of education in this county, and other facts proper to be embraced in an educational report,” I have to state, taking your queries in order, that the County Court of Davidson levied a tax for school purposes upon the passage of the present school law by the Legislature. This tax is two mills on property, five mills on merchandise and one-half the tax on privileges, and amount to about $72,000 annually. A larger sum would be realized if the taxes were collected in toto. This tax is levied annually at the meeting of the County Court in April.
2. In addition to the above tax, the city of Nashville and the town of Edgefield levy a tax which is expended within their own borders. Superintendent Caldwell in a report to me, says: “This city levies this year, in addition to that imposed by the county, a tax of two mills on property. Not more than three quarters of this tax will be collected, amounting to about $22,500. In addition a poll tax, of 50c. per capita is levied, but only about 2,000 polls are ever paid, making from this source about $1,000, and the total amount realized in round numbers, about $24,000. Superintendent Marks reports that the “corporation of Edgefield levies a tax of two mills on the dollar for the support of public schools, which amounts annually to about $4,000.” The municipal and county levies will amount to about $100,000, annually expended in this county for public schools.
3. We have received no assistance from the State this year, nor heretofore since the inauguration of the system, in 1870.
4. There have been in operation in the county, outside of Nashville, the present year, ninety-eight schools, averaging seven months in the year; and in the city of Nashville thirty-one schools, open ten months annually, making total number of schools one hundred and twenty-nine, averaging eight months. The schools of Edgefield are open ten months annually and in a majority of the districts of the county also.
5. I am unable to report the attendance of pupils at the Colleges and Academies of the county. In and near the city are the University of Nashville and the Montgomery Bell Academy, Dr. W. E. Ward’s Seminary, Dr. Roger’s Select School, Miss Fanny O’Bryan’s Academy, St. Mary’s Parochial School, St. Bernard’s Academy, St. Cecilia Female College, School for the Blind, Dolbear’s Commercial College, Earhart’s Commercial and Business College, Central Tennessee College, (colored), Fisk University, (colored).
In Edgefield are Mrs. Weber’s Female Seminary and the Edgefield Male Academy. In the county are Franklin College, (Male), and Hope Institute, (Female), situated in the Second District; Mont Clare Academy, in the Twelfth, and the Crocker School in the Twenty-second districts of this county. There may be a few private schools that I have not mentioned, but all of those listed above are of high grade, mostly.
6. There have been employed in the county, outside of Nashville, ninety-eight teachers, seventy white and twenty-eight colored, at an average salary of $45 per month. In the city, from Superintendent’s report, sixty-three teachers at an average salary of $70 per month, making total number of teachers in the county 161, with average salary of $55 per month.
7. The scholastic population of this county for the scholastic year, dating from the first of September, is 20,049, 12,099 whites and 7,950 colored, being and increase over that of last year, of 2,324, and is enumerated between the ages of six and eighteen, by the Commissioner of the respective school districts. 8. There have been enrolled in the county, outside of the city, 5,151 pupils, with an average attendance of 3,613. In the city 3,231, with an average attendance of 2,643, making a total of 8,382 enrolled with an average of 6,256. It is a fact worthy of note that the private schools of this county were merged into public schools upon the introduction of the latter in the Fall of 1870 – there being now no private schools in operation except those of high grade. This is significant and speaks for itself. The statistics will show the cost for pupils in this county, based upon the number enrolled, to be about S1 25 per month. The course of study n the county schools embraces seven grades: finishing Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar and History of the United States, with higher grades provided for by two or more districts uniting their funds and establishing a High school. Of the city schools it is needless to speak, for it is well known that they rank second to the schools of no city in the Union of the same wealth and population.
I desire, in this connection, to express our obligations to Dr. Sears, the Agent of the Peabody Fund, At Staunton, Va., for substantial aid. whenever the proper applications have been made and forwarded, he has invariably responded, granting aid to the applicants; and I desire to state further, that your services in this regard have been of great advantage to the Agent, affording him a security that he could not possibly have felt otherwise, your indorsement assuring him that the necessary conditions would be complied with, the money worthily bestowed and judiciously expended. We have received from the fund the present scholastic year $3,200.
In conclusion, I would say that the Public Schools of this county are cheaper, more thorough and more efficient that the private schools that were in operation before their introduction.
Hoping that the above my be sufficiently full and explicit,I am, most respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. W. WEAKLEY,