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Board of Public Education

[Record group 40]
Alternative/Former Names
Controllers of the Public Schools

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Agency Function

Agency History
Philadelphia's system of public schools was established by an Act of March 3, 1818 which constituted the County the First School District of Pennsylvania and organized school sections within it corresponding to the City and, roughly, each district, borough, and township. The schools in each section were placed under the control of Directors chosen from that section who in turn functioned under the general supervision of the countywide Board of Controllers of the Public Schools whose members the Directors elected. The Board of Controllers was incorporated in 1845 and received possession of all property held for school purposes by the City and County; the Consolidation Act of 1854, however, returned the Board to the status of an office of City government and its property and closer financial control were placed in the hands of City Councils. In 1867 the Controllers were made appointive by the Court of Common Pleas and District Court, a duty assumed entirely by Common Pleas when the District Court was abolished in 1874. The Controllers were retitled the Board of Public Education in 1870 and in 1887, under the provisions of the Bullitt Bill, it was established as a major department of City government as the Department of Education. In 1911 the Board was reincorporated, its membership fixed at fifteen court appointees, and it again assumed ownership of all school properties and was given power to levy taxes and borrow funds; the City Controller continued to act as the Board's financial Controller. At the adoption in 1965 of the Educational Home Rule Supplement to the City Charter of 1951 the Board's membership was reduced to nine mayoral appointees chosen from names submitted by the Citizens Educational Nominating Panel; the City Controller was then replaced by a Controller of the Board's appointment.

(for the years 1854 to 1910 in which the Controllers or the Department of Education were offices of City Government, see Record Group 72)

Archival Records
40.1 Expenditures and Estimated Expenditures (1844-1845)

40.1a Controllers of the Public Schools, Annual Report

40.2 Board of Public Education, Annual Reports

40.3 Journal (1911-1945)

40.4 General Fund Budget (1966)

40.5 Budget, Projects Financed by Federal Funds (1966)

40.6 Capital Program

40.7 School Facilities Survey (1965)

40.8 "Public School Buildings, 1745-1918" (1745-1918)

40.9 President of the School District, Annual Report

40.10 Superintendent of the Public Schools, Annual Report

40.11 Secretary and Business Manager, Annual Report

40.12 School Controller, Annual Report

40.13 Superintendent's Newsletter (1970)

40.14 Proposed Desegregation Plan (1969)

40.15 Photographs (1911-1965)

40.100 Controllers of the Morton School, Bristol Township, Minutes and Accounts. (24 October 1839 - November 1853)

40.101 Committee on Accounts, Sixth Section, Public Schools. Report (8 January 1849-30 June 1854)

40.102 Board of Superintendents. Minutes (1912-1915)

40.103 Southern High and Manual Training School. Student Record (1912 (January - June))

40.104 Philadelphia Trades' School. Students' Record (January 1912 - June 1919)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000