Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

of finishing the Center Building and one of the wings and their connections, as contemplated by the act making the appropriations, and that the expenditures will overrun the appropriations at least ten thousand dollars. The appropriations for supporting the Institution were much less than estimated by the Board, and the cost of all articles of consumption much more than the Board anticipated two years ago, when the estimates were made. It is to be regretted that the appropriations should ever fall much short of the amount absolutely necessary to conduct the Institution in a successful manner. When this occurs the Board are placed in a condition where they must dismiss and send home the pupils, or loan money or otherwise create debts for the means to go on with what the Legislature intended should be done. It appears to the Board a far better way sometimes to have even a small excess over what may be needed than to fall far short of that amount. The appropriations made for the purpose of supporting the Institution for the last two years, might possibly have boarded the pupils for that time, leaving very little, if anything, for paying the salaries of Principal, Matron and Teachers, the wages of engineers, laborers, and domestics, fuel for running the engine for two years, and many other incidental expenses. In explanation of much of the additional expense above the appropriations made for finishing the Center Building and one of the wings and their connections, the Board would here quote from the report of the Commissioner before referred to. He says: “ The act making these appropriations, provides that the appropriations for building purposes shall be incorporated in the State tax for the respective years named, and when collected be passed to the credit of the Asylum Fund. Thus virtually prohibiting the payment of these sums until they shall have been collected. The effect of this was to render it impossible to do anything towards finisbing the parts of the building named during the year 1863, which proved very unfortunate, as the contract previously made for putting in the warming and ventilating apps ratus expired during that 'year, and the result was an additional expense of about five thousand dollars in that one item.”

In addition to this, all must be aware that estimates made two years ago for mechanical labor and for materials for building purposes, as well as for the support of the Institution, founded upon the prices then existing, must fall far below the actual necessary cost of the same at the times when the articles have had to be purchased and the labor performed.

The Board trust and believe that the Legislature will make sufficient appropriations to support and successfully carry on the Institution for the next two years without leaving the Board in debt at the end of that time. To do this and to make the necessary purchases, (the items of which will hereafter be given by the Commissioner,) it will be necessary to appropriate at leat sixteen thousand dollars for the year 1865, and fifteen thousand for the year 1866, and in addition to this a sum sufficient to pay the indebtedness already accrued for the support of the Institution and for building purposes. The Board also ask that a sum of money sufficient to finish the west wing, and to finish some portions of the main edifice, may be appropriated.

We believe that when the buildings of this Institution shall have been completed, that it will, in proportion to its size, be equal in strength and beauty and for all other purposes intended, to any other similar Institution in the United States, and that all the citizens of Michigan should take pride in causing to be finished so noble an edifice, founded in benevolence and humanity.

The Principal, in' his report of 1862, says: “Want of occupation is the real misfortune of the blind pupils in our Institution, and the real cause why we have so few blind in proportion to the number resident in the State who ought to be here. . Our blind pupils are not contented, and never will be, under any management whatever, which excludes instruction in handicraft, and leaves the hours of the day in which they are

[ocr errors]

not confined to school to be devoted to idleness." He also saya in the saille report, “ Several of the blind boys have left the Institution at the end of three or four years, preferring to reserve the remaining years allowed by the State, until trades should be established, and then return and finish out their time. I have, in a few instances, advised them to this course. But some of these have despaired of trades ever being taught here, and have gone to other States.”

Having no rooms at their disposal in which trades could be taught, and the Legislature having made no appropriation for that purpose, and from other causes originating after the report of the Principal, the Board, at a meeting held in May, 1863, adopted the following preamble and resolution:

Whereas, One great object sought to be accomplished in educating pupils at the Michigan Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, is to enable them to support themselves after leaving the Institution, independent of aid from the public; and

Whereas, It is necessary, in order to enable the Blind to support themselves, to teach them some trade or handicraft;

and

Whereas, With the present limited means and accomodations as to room, workshops, &c., it is impossible to teach trades to any of the pupils; therefore

Resolved, That the Department of the Blind in the Michigan Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, be suspended from and after the close of the present term, until further action by this Board.

Therefore during the last school year the Blind were not admitted. The Board, before the opening of the present school term, expecting soon to have some vacant rooms where trades might be taught, and that the Legislature at its coming term would make sufficient appropriations for that purpose, issued circulars stating that the Department of the Blind would again be opened.

We have now two female teachers in the Blind Department, (one of them a teacher of music,) and eighteen pupils, with a probable increase of numbers; and as soon as provision can be made by the Board to have trades taught, this branch of the Institution will, no doubt, receive a large addition of pupils.

At the first regular meeting of the Board, after the close of the last school term, the Rev. B. M. Fay and his wife, who had been connected with the Institution from its infancy, tendered through Mr. Fay, their resignation to the Board, as follows:

“GENTLEMEN :—Mrs. Fay having suffered for a long time, from ill health, and it being the opinion of her friends and Physician that her health can only be restored by a change of residence, she resigns the office of Matron, and will be obliged to leave the Institution to reside in another climate.

“ This will create the necessity that I also leave the Institution. I have been connected with it from the beginning, a period of ten and a half years; and during this period our efforts in its behalf have been attended with a high degree of prosperity. Buildings have been erected which are an honor to the State, and will be an enduring monument of her philanthropy, her liberality and benevolence for the unfortunate.

“During this period 225 pupils have been connected with the Institution, about half of whom have finished their course here, and all have been so far improved as to become convincing arguments of the utility of such an Institution. Joy and gratitude have already been awakened in more than two hundred families, from which these unfortunate children have come to us to be educated.

“I take but little credit to myself for the success which has crowned our efforts—have been aware of many imperfections in the discharge of my duties, but have always been conscious of a supreme desire to promote the highest welfare of the Institution. Grateful to a kind Providence and to the Board of Trustees for the many favors received, I resign the office of Principal, to take effect at the commencement of the next term; Sept. 14, 1864. “Respectfully submitted.

B. M. FAY."

The Board would here acknowledge the high esteem in which they have ever held Mr. and Mrs. Fay, and the deep regret they feel for the cause of their resignation.

Mr. Egbert L. Bangs, for many years a teacher in the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in New York, and highly recommended by Professor Peet, Principal of that Institution, has been appointed Principal in place of Mr. Fay, and the Board hope and believe that the Institution will suffer no special detriment from the change thus made necessary.

By reason of the small appropriations for the past two years, and the strong desire of the Board to keep the current expenses as near within the appropriations as possible, the number of teachers has been less than the wants of the Institution.

There should be at least two more teachers in the Deaf and Dumb department, for the necessity of which, as well as for many other matters of importance, the Board would refer to the suggestions in the very able report of the Principal, appended hereto.

We would also, in connection with the recommendation of the Principal, ask the Legislature to change the law in regard to the clothing and other expenses of the pupils, chargeable back to the counties from which they come, so that a sum not s exceeding forty dollars, (instead of twenty, as the law now is,) may be used, if found necessary for those purposes.

The Board, before the expiration of the last term, invited John W. Birchmore, Thomas J. Joslyn and H. H. Northrop, clergymen risiding in the city of Flint, to act as an Examining Committee at the close of the term. The committee, after an examination of the various classes in the Institution, kindly made a report to the Board, which report we take pleasure in annexing hereto. We also append the reports of the several teachers in the Institution, for the past term, which will show the general method of teaching the deaf and dumb, the progress made by the different classes, and the studies pursued.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »