187 N.W.2d 666 (S.D. 1971), 10854, Elk Point Independent School Dist. No. 3 of Union County v. State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Educ.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtThe opinion of the court was delivered by: Rentto
Citation187 N.W.2d 666,85 S.D. 600
PartiesELK POINT INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 OF UNION COUNTY, South Dakota, et al., Petitioners-Respondents, v. STATE COMMISSION ON ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION, Defendant-Appellant, and Union County Board of Education of Union County, South Dakota, Marilyn Bennett, Union County Superintendent of Schools, Defendants.
Docket Number10854.
Date09 June 1971

Page 666

187 N.W.2d 666 (S.D. 1971)

85 S.D. 600

ELK POINT INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 OF UNION COUNTY,

South Dakota, et al., Petitioners-Respondents,

v.

STATE COMMISSION ON ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION,

Defendant-Appellant,

and

Union County Board of Education of Union County, South

Dakota, Marilyn Bennett, Union County

Superintendent of Schools, Defendants.

No. 10854.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

June 9, 1971

[85 S.D. 601]

Page 667

Dana, Golden, Moore & Rasmussen, Sioux Falls, for petitioners-respondents.

Gordon Mydland, Atty. Gen., Horace R. Jackson, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Pierre, for defendant-appellant.

RENTTO, Presiding Judge.

The State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education on November 25, 1969, created an independent school district in the south half of Union County to be effective July 1, 1970. In it were included all of the land areas of nine common school districts and a portion of another, and [85 S.D. 602] all of the land areas within the Elk Point and Jefferson Independent districts. The Elk Point district and two of its elector-taxpayers petitioned the circuit court to have such action annulled. It was their claim that the commission had no authority to do away with their district. The court entered a judgment in their favor from which the commission appeals.

The Elk Point district constitutes the major area of the north part of the proposed district. It extends across the county from the Nebraska boundary to the Iowa line isolating the Jefferson Independent district and seven common school districts to the south. Apparently the new district at its southern extremity is contiguous to Sioux City, Iowa, except for the Big Sioux River which runs between them. The North Sioux City District No. 4 is the southernmost of these common school districts. It is a bedroom community for Sioux City to which it is connected by a modern highway bridge over the Big Sioux River. Its assessed valuation is not commensurate with the number of school age children resident in the district.

Ch. 38, Laws of 1967, created the commission and prescribed its functions. Before the effective date of the chapter, July 1, 1967, it was referred to a vote of the electors of the state as authorized by Art. III, § 1 of our Constitution. At the general election in November 1968 the act was approved. This made it effective in December 1968. SDCL 2--1--4, 12--13--20 and 12--20--47. In Section 3(1) it states:

'All territory or land area within the State of South Dakota shall on or before July 1, 1970, become a part of an independent school district offering an accredited school program and meeting the standards adopted by the State Board of Education'.

This declaration indicates the basic purpose of the legislature in creating the commission.

Page 668

How that purpose was to be accomplished is detailed in Section 3(1) as follows:

[85 S.D. 603] 'If any land area within the state has not become a part of an approved independent school district in accordance with the provisions of this Act on or before January 1, 1969, or to be effective on July 1, 1970, or if any boundary changes or adjustments of land area are necessary, the State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education shall provide for a hearing for the residents of any land area so involved and shall by resolution take one of the following courses of action:

(a) create an approved independent school district, or

(b) combine, attach, and make any boundary charge or adjustment of land area as may be deemed necessary, or

(c) request additional information and study prior to taking any course of action under (a) or (b) above.

'When the State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education creates a school district under subsection (a) above, said Commission shall direct the Superintendent of Public Instruction to notify within ten days by mail the county boards of education and the school district boards affected and to notify and direct the county superintendent of schools to initiate school board election procedures, as provided in SDC 1960 Supp. 15.2021 as amended, within twenty days of the date of such notification.

'When the State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education takes action under subsection (b) above, said Commission shall direct the Superintendent of Public Instruction to notify within ten days by mail the county boards of education, the school districts boards affected, and the county officials affected to take the necessary steps to implement the action taken by the State Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education.'

[85 S.D. 604] It is obvious that the action of the commission here in question was taken under subdivision (a).

In support of its action the commission reminds us that the creation, enlargement, consolidation or dissolution of school districts is a legislative function in which due process is not involved, and that the courts may not substitute their judgment for that of the legislative delegate. This we have held. Stephens v. Jones, 24 S.D. 97, 123 N.W. 705; Dunker v. Brown County Board of Education, 80 S.D. 193, 121 N.W.2d 10; Thies v. Renner, 78 S.D. 617, 106 N.W.2d 253. It also points to the general legislative declaration that it is essential that every...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT