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The number of agricultural leases in the Canal Zone during the fiscal year of 1907 has decreased, instead of increased, as was expected. The reason for this is not apparent, unless it is that the returns from agricultural ventures are slow, and require an amount of capital which the small investor who would engage in independent pursuits in the tropics is not prepared to furnish; doubtless, it is also partly due to the fact that remunerative employment can always be secured on the canal works. The reduction. in the number of leases has also been due to some extent to the cancellation of leases on watersheds, draining into reservoirs which furnish the water supply for towns and villages on the Isthmus. Three watersheds have been entirely cleared of human habitation, and no leases are now made in the vicinity of reservoirs without reference to the Sanitary Department for approval as to location.
In view of the fact that many roads and trails have peen opened in the administrative districts of Ancon, Emperador and Gorgona, there is every reason to believe that the number of agricultural leases will increase during the present fiscal year, as there is now available a large amount of valuable agricultural land which has hitherto been inaccessible. The total number of leases for building lots in force on June 30, 1907, was 479, and for agricultural lands, 83; the leases for agricultural lands covering 344 hectares of land. About 52 square miles of land in the Zone was purchased by the United States from the New Panama Canal Company, and about 189 square miles was acquired from Panama under the treaty. Much of this land will be required for canal construction purposes, and a large part of it will be submerged by the lakes formed by the canal.
The authority for leasing this land is found in the Act of Congress approved July 28, 1892, authorizing the Secretary of War to lease, for a period not exceeding five years and revocable at any time, property of the United States under his control, and not required for public use.
The land laws of the United States do not apply to the Canal Zone, and the land laws of Panama in force in the Zone at the time of its cession to the United States are not applicable to the conditions in the Zone. "It is believed,' says Governor Blackburn in his official report, "that as soon as it is possible to determine with reasonable certainty the lands that will be required for canal purposes on the Isthmus, the remaining lands should be opened to cultivation and settlement under some arrangement that will assure permanent tenure to persons desiring to secure it. A great deal of public land in the Canal Zone is occupied by squatters, who have been on the land for many years, without legal right. These persons are not disturbed except where their occupation of the land interferes with the canal work. Considerable land in the Zone claimed by private persons, is, it is believed, actually public land. The titles to such land will be adjudicated in the courts. The new Code of Civil Procedure provides a simple method of testing titles in such cases.
The ownership of land in the Canal Zone is as follows:
Owned by the United States, by purchase from the
Owned by the United States, by condemnation and
Public land held by the United States by cession from
Owned by the Panama Railroad by cession from Col-
Owned by private persons
52.11 sq. miles
3.01 sq. miles
188.91 sq. miles
68.12 sq. miles
136.22 sq miles
448.37 sq. miles
Canal Zone revenues have always exceeded the expenditures. These revenues are derived principally from real estate taxation, real estate rentals, fines and costs, and liquor licenses. The following table shows receipts from
these sources, and also total receipts and expenditures for the fiscal years, 1905, 1906, and 1907
TEACHING CANAL ZONE YOUTH.
The Isthmian Canal Commission authorized the establishment of a school system in 1904, but the pressure of other work prevented any action being taken under this authorization beyond the compilation of a census of children of school age, until December, 1905. At that time a Superintendent of Schools was appointed for the Canal Zone, and preliminary steps were taken toward opening of free schools, of primary grade and simple curriculum. The first free public school in the Canal Zone was opened at Corozal on Jan. 2, 1906. At the close of the term ending Sept. 30, 1906, there were 30 schools with an enrollment of 1796 pupils, and an average daily attendance of 1237. In March, 1907. there were 28 schools in operation. The total enrollment was 1724, and the average daily attendance 1227.
Under date of June 11, 1907, the I. C. C. adopted a resolution prescribing the length of the school year, and fixing the salaries of teachers. The public school term under this resolution now extends from September 30 to June 1, with the following intermissions, Sunday and Saturday of each week; Thanksgiving day and the Friday following; from
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The schools reopened October 1, 1907, with 24 in operation. The schools for white children are located at La Boca, Ancon, Pedro Miguel, Paraiso, Culebra, Empire, Las Cascadas, Gorgona, Gatun, and Cristobal. The schools for colored children have been established at La Boca, Las Sabanas, Paraiso, Culebra, Empire, Matachin, Cruces, Gorgona, Tabernilla, Bohio, Gatun, Mount Hope, Cristobal and Playa de Flor. It is intended to open schools at Pedro Miguel, Las Cascadas, San Pablo, Bas Obispo, Frijoles, and Majagual. Nineteen teachers are employed in the schools for white children, and three white and fifteen colored teachers in the schools for colored children. The white teachers come from the following localities: One from Alabama, one from Indiana, one from Iowa, one from Kansas, one from Massachusetts, three from Michigan, one from Mississippi, one from Missouri, one from Montana, two from Nebraska, one from New Mexico, two from New York, two from Pensylvania, two from Virginia, and one from Panama. All are females, with one exception. The salaries of the teachers are $60, $90 and $110 per month, U. S. currency for nine months in the year.
Teachers for the white schools have been carefully selected from the many applications for appointment, preference being given to those with normal school training and pre
vious experience in the United States. Ali but four of the teachers employed for the white schools have had such experience.
The colored schools are in charge of the most efficient. native and West Indian teachers that it is possible to attract to the service, and some delay has been experienced in opening these schools by the reason of the difficulty in securing properly qualified colored teachers. All of the colored teachers are from the West Indies or Panama.
The enrollment of pupils in the white schools for November, 1907, was 387; average daily attendance, 311. Enrollment in colored schools, 1079; average daily attendance 730.
The schools are divided into eight grades, in conformity with the similar organization of elementary schools in the United States. The curriculum includes reading, writing, spelling, grammar, geography, elementary physiology and free-hand drawing. In addition to the instruction in these subjects, English-speaking children are taught Spanish, and Spanish-speaking children are taught English. For white children who are too far advanced for the elementary grades, it is intended to organize high school classes at Culebra and Cristobal, in which instruction will be given in algebra, geometry, Latin, Spanish, botany, physical geography, general history, rhetoric and biology.
Children whose parents are employed by the Isthmian Canal Commission, or by the Panama Railroad Company, living at stations at which no school has been established are furnished free transportation on the Panama Railroad to the nearest station at which there is a school. Children of parents who are not employed by the Isthmian Canal Commission, or the Panama Railroad Company and are not residents of the Canal Zone, are admitted to the elementary grades wherever local conditions will permit upon payment of a tuition fee of $2.00 gold per month, and to the high school grades upon payment of $4.00 gold per month. All necessary material, including books, pencils, pens and paper,