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To the State Board of Charities:

Your Committee on the Blind presents the following report for the year ending September 30, 1901:


This institution, located at Batavia, has been visited by the committee and inspected by the Board's inspector of State charitable institutions on four occasions during the fiscal year, namely, in November, January, April and July.

The inspector has made careful inquiry, as required by the State Charities Law, in these particulars:

1. The proper and economical expenditure of public moneys received and the general condition of the finances.

2. The accomplishment of the objects of the institution with regard to its industrial, educational and moral training. 3. The methods of government and discipline of its inmates.

4. The qualifications and general conduct of the officers and employes.

5. The condition and care of the grounds, buildings and other property.

Summarizing the results of the inspections, and considering them along the foregoing lines, it may be stated:

1. The appropriations to the institution have been properly and economically expended through the medium of the Bureau of Charitable Institutions of the State Comptroller's office. The work performed under special funds was duly advertised for and awarded to the lowest bidder. With regard to maintenance funds, however, it was found that the steward apparently does not seek the most advantageous markets for the purchase of general supplies, but confines his buying largely to the village of Batavia. The provisions, other than meats, are bought from any firm, in his discretion, without the desirable competition secured by inviting bids from month to month by the various merchants of the village. And concerning the financial records, failure to secure a bookkeeper resulted in the neglect of the general books for the long period of seven months, or from June, 1900, to February, 1901. It is also to be noted that the institution has maintained a private fund devoted to recreation and amusement of pupils, said fund being made up from admissions charged at concerts and sundry donations. Under a proper compliance with law this fund should have been reported to the State Treasurer, but such action does not appear to have been taken.

2. The industrial and educational training of the pupils has continued without special change, the test of scholarship in scholastic branches being the Regents' examinations, in which satisfactory results were obtained. The work of teaching has been facilitated by the employment of a woman to operate the machines for the printing of music and literature in the “ New York” and “ Braille” point-print systems. There is a diversity of views as to the utility of maintaining instruction in a dual system of print in one school.

With regard to the industrial education the school confines its attention to broom-making, chair-caning and piano-tuning for the boys and sewing for the girls. It is suggested that mattress making be again taken up, and that there be established a cooking school. Both of these subjects are included in the course at the New York city institution,

Physical instruction has been given during the last half of the school year in the new gymnasium, which has a suitable equipment of apparatus and shower baths. The teacher in charge is a man of experience, who could not have been secured at the sal. ary offered, but for his securing other employment in the vil. lage in addition to his work for the State.

It is the opinion of your committee that the pupils have received insufficient instruction in the very important fire drill.

3. Concerning the government, discipline and general treat. ment of the pupils the methods in vogue have continued to be satisfactory in general respects. The food has been found always good and well prepared, but insufficient time, in our opinion, is allowed the children at table. The average time spent at dinner, the principal meal of the day, has averaged only fifteen minutes, which is far too little even for a seeing child.

During the year measles, mumps, typhoid and scarlet fever appeared, necessitating the employment of special nurses. These diseases were fortunately confined to scattering cases.

The policy of the superintendent has been to discourage, as far as possible, the practice of drawing on the counties for clothing supplies. Where a poor child has been in need of garments he has endeavored to secure contributions of cast-off garments or other donations. It is stated that during his term of office clothing requisitions on counties have been decreased by one third. His motive has been that the public supplying of garments, etc., was a pauperizing influence. It is considered by your committee that the results of this policy have been to keep many children in want of neat raiment, and that the general practice of schools for the deaf in drawing on the counties for clothing account should be the guide for procedure here. The custom is probably not as baneful in creating ideas of dependence as the soliciting of alms. It is a part of the State's general charitable policy in securing to the blind and the deaf a home during their education.

The population at the Batavia school has averaged 130 during the year, which is practically the normal capacity of the dormitories. It is noted that in 1892 there were the same number of pupils in attendance, so that a decade shows no increase. As attendance during the same period at the New York institution has decreased, the facilities for education of the blind in this State seem ample at present.

4. Concerning the officers and employes, the year was chiefly marked by the resignation of Superintendent Gardner Fuller, who has ceased his connection with the school after several years of conscientious work in its behalf. His successor had not been appointed at the opening of the new term in September, and Mr. Fuller kindly remained long enough to see that the work was resumed in an orderly manner.

There have also been several other changes in the teaching and housekeeping staff. The officers and employes in general have been faithful and competent. Some of them have become aged in the State's service here.

5. The property of the school has been well cared for; the grounds and buildings have always been found in a neat condition. It is proper, however, to again point to the unnecessarily large task falling to the school in being obliged to maintain its very extensive grounds and the approaches thereto. By the residents of Batavia these grounds are regarded as a public park.

The location and character of the general provision storeroom of the school are unsatisfactory, and the supplies should be removed to more desirable rooms, of which there are several in the basement of the main building.

New work accomplished during the year included electric wiring and fixtures, provided for by an appropriation of $2,500, under chapter 405, Laws of 1901; also general repairs and better. ments.

Appropriations were made under the same law for gymnasium lockers, for library and apparatus, for painting walls and woodwork and for additional fire extinguishers. There was no expenditure during the fiscal year for any of these items.

The new cement walks have been completed under an appro. priation of $1,000, in 1900, and there has been a partial expenditure under the 1900 appropriation for repairs to tin roofs, gut. ters and conductor pipes.

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