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A plan of medical inspection in schools began in Boston as early as 1894 and spread rapidly to other Massachusetts cities. According to a report of the department of child hygiene of the Russell Sage Foundation, published in 1911, “in 552 cities vision and hearing tests are conducted by the teachers and in 258 cities this is done under the direction of doctors. For the service of medical inspection in cities 1,415 doctors are employed, more than half the number being cities of the North Atlantic States and more than one-fourth in the North Central States. School nurses supplement the work in 415 cities, ninety per cent of the number being employed in the same two sections of the country. The services of doctors are donated in seventy-five cities and of nurses in twenty-one cities. In the remaining cities salaries to examining physicians range from fees according to services up to $4,000 a year.”
On the basis of medical inspection, it is estimated that about a quarter of a million school children in the United States are predisposed to tuberculosis, and recognition of this fact has given a great impetus to the development of open-air schools. Providence, R. I., claims to have been the pioneer in this new work. The windows of certain schoolrooms were opened there in 1907, much to the astonishment of the country. So novel was the experiment that newspapers gave columns to it and school committees came from far and wide to look at it. In 1908, three cities had outdoor schools; in 1909, five cities, and in 1910, twenty-seven schools and about fifteen cities had adopted this new feature.- Charles A. Beard, “ American City Government,” Þ. 326.
11 Parks.—The management of parks in American cities is nearly always under the control of a special board, either locally elected or appointed by municipal authority. Such park boards are found even in Boston and Cleveland, where single-headed departments are the prevailing system. Usually the park boards consist of from three to five members, but in Buffalo there are fifteen commissioners. Chicago has three separate boards for the parks in different sections of the city. In New York City there are three park commissioners, each of whom has jurisdiction over the parks in a certain district. St. Louis has a single park commissioner.
In almost every case the park boards are independent of the other authorities having control over municipal improvements. Only in St. Louis is the park commissioner made a member of the municipal board of public improvements. The independence of the park management from the other branches of municipal administration is emphasized in the case of state-appointed boards at Chicago, the Massachusetts metropolitan park commission, and the commission for the proposed interstate park along the palisades of the Hudson river.-Op. cit., p. 268.
THI *HE functions of the city have, during the last few
decades, increased very rapidly, and are still increasing at a rapid rate. When American city government was instituted the administrative duties of the city were few. There were no street railways, or telephones, or telegraphs, no municipal gas or electric light plants, and no water purification, sewage disposal, and garbage reduction plants. There were no miles of expensive pavements, or hundreds of acres of parks and parkways, with municipal greenhouses, public baths, playgrounds, and gymnasiums. There were some wooden pavements and some open sewers. The municipal lighting plant consisted of the lamplighter who went about at dusk and lighted the lamps on the street corners, and every man's well was a part of the municipal water supply. The principal functions of the city were the protection of life, liberty, and property, the care of the poor, and the administration of the public schools.
But with the growth of population and its concentration in urban centres the functions of the city have increased. Many of the functions which were formerly performed by private initiative have been assumed by the city. New conditions have given rise to new problems. As cities have become crowded, problems of housing and sanitation have arisen. As traffic and business interests have grown, problems of paving, dust prevention, and smoke abatement have appeared problems of water purification and sewage disposal, of milk and food inspection, problems of organization and administration, of accounting, the regulation of public services, special assessments, problems of public recreation, parks and playgrounds, city beautification, questions of municipal employment, and a hundred and one other problems and questions incident to growth and the spread of social intercourse.
And with every change in the social, economic, and political conditions of the country more of these problems arise.
With every invention of a labor-saving device, and with every new combination of capital their number is increased and their complexity multiplied. Great power plants are being developed. Heating plants, waterpower and electric plants, and other great industrial enterprises which use the streets and furnish public seryice to the citizens of our cities are being added daily and these must be regulated and controlled. All these changed conditions and new problems have greatly enlarged the field of municipal activity and increased the functions which the modern city has to perform. Not only, therefore, does the city perform the traditional functions of local government, but it performs indus
trial, social, and many general welfare functions as well. The city is being called upon more and more to perform functions which the general welfare of the people demand for their health and convenience.
(1) Governmental Functions. The functions which the city performs naturally fall into two classes, governmental functions and municipal functions proper. The city, it will be remembered, occupies a dual position: it is an agent of the state and it is an organization or corporation for the satisfying of local, special needs. As an agent of the state it performs governmental functions; as a local corporation it performs municipal functions. Municipal functions, then, in the proper sense, are confined to the work which the city does in satisfying its local needs. But it is oftentimes difficult to distinguish between a state function performed by a city and a municipal function, although the necessity for such a distinction is sometimes essential. A city cannot be held liable for damages in the performance of a governmental or state function, while many times it may be held liable for negligence in performing a municipal function, as laying a sewer, keeping a street in repair, or operating a water plant. In general, those functions in the faithful performance of which the people of the entire state are interested are state functions, while those which are of special interest or benefit to the locality are municipal functions. Frequently, however, custom or tradition is responsible for the legal distinction between the two.