676 P.2d 134 (Kan. 1984), 55574, State ex rel. Stephan v. Board of County Com'rs of County of Lyon County

Docket Nº:55574.
Citation:676 P.2d 134, 234 Kan. 732
Party Name:STATE of Kansas, ex rel. Robert T. STEPHAN; Washburn University of Topeka; Allen County Community College, et al., Appellees, v. The BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF the COUNTY OF LYON COUNTY, Appellant.
Attorney:[6] Jay W. Vander Velde, of Atherton, Sanderson & Vander Velde, of Emporia, argued the cause and was on the briefs for appellant. Rodney J. Bieker, assistant attorney general, argued the cause, and Dan Biles, assistant attorney general and Robert T. Stephan, attorney general, were with him on the...
Case Date:January 13, 1984
Court:Supreme Court of Kansas
 
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Page 134

676 P.2d 134 (Kan. 1984)

234 Kan. 732

STATE of Kansas, ex rel. Robert T. STEPHAN; Washburn

University of Topeka; Allen County Community

College, et al., Appellees,

v.

The BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF the COUNTY OF LYON

COUNTY, Appellant.

No. 55574.

Supreme Court of Kansas

January 13, 1984

Page 135

Syllabus by the Court

1. Where a statute which clearly applies to the subject matter of a pending action is amended by the legislature while an appeal in the action is pending, and counsel for both sides have had an opportunity to brief and argue the amended statute, this court will consider and construe the most recent enactment.

2. Statutory construction is a matter of law. This court will construe a newly enacted statute even though the trial court has not had the opportunity to do so.

3. Article 2, section 17, of the Constitution of Kansas no longer prohibits special legislation.

4. Chapter 282 of the Laws of Kansas for 1982 is examined and found to contain but one subject, and thus not to be violative of article 2, section 16, of the Constitution of Kansas.

5. No legislative history or extrinsic evidence of how an act of the legislature evolved is necessary or relevant when the act contains no unrelated or unworthy matters and is clear and unambiguous on its face.

6. Counties have no constitutional basis for home rule; their authority in that area is dependent upon legislation.

7. A county, although required by law to pay out-district tuition to community colleges, has no standing to challenge the colleges' manner of operation and degree of compliance with state statutes.

Jay W. Vander Velde, of Atherton, Sanderson & Vander Velde, Emporia, argued the cause and was on the briefs, for appellant.

Rodney J. Bieker, Asst. Atty. Gen., argued the cause, and Dan Biles, Asst. Atty. Gen. and Robert T. Stephan, Atty. Gen., were with him on the brief for appellee State of Kan.

[234 Kan. 733] Kenneth P. Hackler, Topeka, argued the cause and was on the brief, for appellee Washburn University of Topeka.

Page 136

Robert V. Talkington, of Conderman & Talkington, Iola, argued the cause and was on the brief, for appellees Allen County Community College, et al.

MILLER, Justice:

This is an action in the nature of quo warranto, brought by the attorney general against the Board of County Commissioners of Lyon County to contest the validity of two charter resolutions enacted by the Board. The resolutions exempted Lyon County from paying, as required by certain statutes, out-district tuition to Kansas community colleges and municipal universities. The trial court held the resolutions unconstitutional, enjoined the implementation of the charter resolutions, and ordered the Board to continue paying out-district tuition as provided by law. The principal issues to be resolved are whether this court should consider a law enacted while this case was on appeal; whether that statute is controlling; and whether the statutes requiring the payment of out-district tuition are constitutional.

To put this controversy in proper perspective, we will first review the constitutional and statutory provisions applicable, together with the procedural history of this action. Article 6 of the Constitution of Kansas deals with the subject of education. It provides in applicable part as follows:

" § 1. Schools and related institutions and activities. The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools, educational institutions and related activities which may be organized and changed in such manner as may be provided by law.

" § 2. State board of education and state board of regents. (a) The legislature shall provide for a state board of education which shall have general supervision of ... educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state, except educational functions delegated by law to the state board of regents....

....

" § 6. Finance. (a) The legislature may levy a permanent tax for the use and benefit of state institutions of higher education and apportion among and appropriate the same to the several institutions, which levy, apportionment and appropriation shall continue until changed by statute. Further appropriation and other provision for finance of institutions of higher education may be made by the legislature.

"(b) The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state."

[234 Kan. 734] Acting under authority of these constitutional provisions over sixty years ago, the Kansas Legislature authorized the establishment of junior colleges having a two-year course of post-high school study. See R.S.1923, 72-3301 et seq. "Junior colleges" and "community junior colleges" became "community colleges" pursuant to a statute enacted in 1980. See K.S.A. 71-120. These community colleges generally have as a tax base a taxing district consisting of one county or less, and the board of trustees of each community college is authorized to levy a tax on the taxable tangible property of the community college district. K.S.A. 71-204. In order to provide additional financial assistance to the community colleges, the legislature authorized each community college, under certain circumstances, to charge out-district tuition for each student attending the college whose residence is outside the community college district. Out-district tuition is paid by the board of county...

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