Board of Ed. In and For Franklin County v. Board of Ed. In and For Hardin County

Decision Date08 April 1959
Docket NumberNo. 49690,49690
Citation95 N.W.2d 709,250 Iowa 672
PartiesBOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR FRANKLIN COUNTY, Iowa, Arthur J. Renaud, Secretary and Executive Officer, and J. Verald Brown, Chairman, Appellant, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR HARDIN COUNTY, Iowa, kermith S. Huehn, Secretary and Executive Officer; Earl R. Cope, Superintendent, Iowa Falls Community School District of Iowa Falls, Iowa; Lee Township School District, Franklin County, Iowa, Robert E. McCord, President; and State Board of Public Instruction, J. C. Wright, Superintendent, Appellees.
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Hobson & Cady, Hampton, for appellant.

Don W. Barker, Iowa Falls, and William N. Dunn, Hubbard, for appellees.

GARRETT, Justice.

The Community School District of Iowa Falls in Hardin County includes the city of around 5,000 population and all of Hardin Township except two small tracts. In 1954 the Franklin county board of education filed with the state superintendent of public instruction a 'county plan' which included all of the county in some high school district. The plan as amended designated seven and one-half sections in the west half of Lee township to go to the Iowa Falls public schools and included therein all of what we shall hereafter refer to as the disputed area except three-fourths of one section. The disputed area involved in this appeal is in the west half of Lee township and joins the east half of the township from its north to south line but has an irregular boundary on the west.

A meeting of the Hardin and Franklin county boards of education on December 4, 1957, resulted in a joint plan for the proposed enlarged Community School District of Iowa Falls which excluded all of the disputed area. It was filed with the state superintendent. The Franklin county plan was then amended to conform.

On December 23, 1957, a petition signed by 848 persons was filed with the county superintendent of schools of Hardin county proposing to extend the boundaries of the district in several directions enlarging it to include approximately 108 sections of land, a substantial part of the area being in Franklin county.

Hearing was held at Eldora by the two county boards on January 9, 1958, and the decision and order of the joint boards accepted part and excluded part of the area proposed by the petition to be included in the reorganized and enlarged Community School District of Iowa Falls. The joint boards accepted only the east half of the township and excluded an area embracing seven and one-half sections now known as the disputed area.

The Community School District of Iowa Falls, Lee Township School District and the Hardin County Board of Education filed separate appeals from this decision and order to the State Department of Public Instruction. A hearing was held on February 5, 1958, by four members of the state department of public instruction, namely J. C. Wright, state superintendent, Paul Johnston, assistant superintendent, N. E. Hyland, attorney for the department and Ivan Siebert, director of administration and finance. A decision was rendered February 14, 1958, and approved by the state board on the same day, modifying the decision and order of the joint boards and including within the proposed enlarged Community School District of Iowa Falls all of the disputed area in Lee Township. From the decision of the state board the Franklin county board of education appealed to the district court of that county and the court affirmed the ruling and decision of the state board.

Appellant challenges the findings, conclusions and decree of the trial court in five separate divisions: that the state board of public instruction exceeded its authority; that the decision of the state superintendent was wrong as a matter of fact and should have been reversed; that the acts of the joint boards of Franklin and Hardin counties in setting the lines were discretionary acts and in the absence of illegality, fraud or abuse of discretion could not be interfered with by the state department; that the joint boards acted in good faith and should not have been arbitrarily reversed; and that it was the legislative intent that the fixing of boundaries in situations such as this be done by the action of the joint boards.

I. Appellant states the first error it relies upon for reversal as follows: 'The decision of the State Department of Public Instruction was illegal and should have been reversed or set aside because the statutory authority granted to the State Department of Public Instruction or the State Superintendent was exceeded.' In argument it says, 'The 75th General Assembly amended Chapter 275 and the question presented in this Division is whether or not under the Chapter as amended an Independent School District has a right to appeal to the State Superintendent when there is no controversy between the county boards, and when the county boards have agreed on the line, and where no appeal has been taken by either county board on the line in question, to the State Department of Public Instruction.'

It is our opinion the state department did not exceed its authority under the law and that the appellees had legal right to apeal to the state department even though there was no dispute between the county boards and no appeal taken by either county board to the state department. Section 275.8, Code 1954, I.C.A., is as follows: 'Co-operation of state department. The state department of public instruction shall co-operate with the several county boards of education in making the studies and surveys required hereunder. In the case of controversy over the planning of joint districts, the matter shall be submitted to the state board of public instruction and its decision may be appealed to a court of record in one of the counties involved, by an aggrieved party to the controversy, within thirty days after the decision of the state board of public instruction. Joint districts shall mean districts that lie in two or more adjacent counties.' The 57th General Assembly, by an act which became effective on May 2, 1957, amended this section by adding thereto the following: 'An aggrieved party is hereby defined as the board of directors of a school district whose directors are elected at large, or, if said board is elected from director districts, then that membership of the board of directors whose districts are included in the proposed reorganized area, or a county board of education. * * *'

The above section and Section 275.16, Code of Iowa 1958, I.C.A., are decisive of this case, the latter section being: 'Hearing when territory in different counties. If the territory described in the petition for the proposed corporation lies in more than one county, the county superintendent with whom the petition is filed shall fix the time and place and call a joint meeting of the members of all the county boards of education of the counties in which any territory of the proposed school corporation lies, to act as a single board for the hearing of the said objections, and a majority of all members of the county boards of education of the different counties in which any part of the proposed corporation lies, shall constitute...

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12 cases
  • Turnis v. Board of Ed. In and For Jones County, 50290
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • May 2, 1961
    ...two recent cases. In re Durant Community School District, Iowa, 106 N.W.2d 670, and Board of Education in and for Franklin County v. Board of Education in and for Hardin County, 250 Iowa 672, 95 N.W.2d 709. We held in both cases that the state board properly delegated to the three officers ......
  • Durant Community School Dist., In re
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • December 13, 1960
    ...procedure was in accord with the practice of the department. Incidentally see Board of Education in and for Franklin County v. Board of Education in and for Hardin County, 250 Iowa 672, 674, 95 N.W.2d 709, 710. As before pointed out, section 275.16 provides an aggrieved county board or boar......
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    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • May 3, 1966
    ...not, however, all of the rule. In Dingman v. City of Council Bluffs, supra, and Board of Education in and for Franklin County v. Board of Education in and for Hardin County, 250 Iowa 672, 676, 95 N.W.2d 709, we quote Long v. Northrup, 225 Iowa 132, 140, 279 N.W. 104, 109, 116 A.L.R. 1475, r......
  • Board of Directors of Linden Consol. School Dist. v. Board of Ed. In and For Dallas County
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1960
    ...206, and many citations; Signer v. Crawford County, Iowa, Board of Education, 247 Iowa 766, 76 N.W.2d 213; Board of Education, etc. v. Board of Education, 250 Iowa 672, 95 N.W.2d 709. We have not departed from that view. In the Everding case we considered Sections 275.8 and 275.16, involved......
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