Board of Ed. In and For Essex Independent School Dist. v. Board of Ed. In and For Montgomery County

Decision Date16 July 1963
Docket NumberNo. 51035,51035
Citation122 N.W.2d 849,255 Iowa 537
PartiesBOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR ESSEX INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, and the Essex Independent School District, Page County, Iowa, Board of Education in and for Coburg Consolidated School District, and the Coburg Consolidated School District, Montgomery County, Iowa, Appellants, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Iowa, et al., Appellees, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Iowa, and Board of Education in and for Page County, Iowa, acting as a single board in accordance with Section 275.16 of the 1958 Code of Iowa, Appellees, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION IN AND FOR PAGE COUNTY, Iowa, et al., Appellees.
CourtIowa Supreme Court

John S. Redd, Sidney, for appellants.

John F. Boeye, County Atty., Red Oak, for Board of Education in and for Montgomery County.

Richard G. Davidson, County Atty., Clarinda, for Board of Education in and for Page County.

MOORE, Justice.

For the second time we consider rulings of the State Department of Public Instruction on the petition for reorganization of certain districts in Page and Montgomery Counties into the Coburg-Essex Community School District. Our first opinion (Board of Education, etc. v. Board of Education, 251 Iowa 1085, 104 N.W.2d 590) reversed the trial court's approval of the state department's order vacating the decision of the joint boards of Page and Montgomery Counties. We held the state department had not given proper notice of hearing to all interested school districts, remanded the case and ordered it sent back to the state board for proper action.

Thereafter on proper notice a hearing on the controversy presented was held. The state board vacated the decision and order of the joint boards approving the petition for reorganization.

From this ruling the board of the Essex Independent School District and the board of the Coburg Consolidated School District appealed to the district court of Page County.

The trial court sustained the action of the state board. Plaintiffs have appealed.

May 12, 1958, there was filed with the Page County school superintendent, pursuant to section 275.12 (all references are to Code of 1958), I.C.A., a petition for the reorganization of 21 existing districts in Page and Montgomery Counties into the Coburg -Essex Community School District. The proposed area consisted of approximately 33 sections of land in Montgomery County and 87 in Page with an estimated value of $6,600,000 and included 550 pupils. The boundaries proposed did not conform to the established Montgomery County school plans nor those of Page County. The petition requested changes of each. This was the second proposal for the establishment of the Coburg-Essex Community School District. The first, consisting of a slightly larger area, was filed January 20, 1958. After hearing many objections the joint boards dismissed that proposal. On appeal the state board affirmed that dismissal.

June 21, 1958, the second proposal was heard by the boards of Page and Montgomery Counties. After listening to the reading of the petition, many written objections, and oral statements for and against the proposal, the joint boards made some changes in the proposed plan and then by a vote of 7 to 3 approved it. In doing so they changed the established plans of each county. They also disregarded the four-county tentative boundary plan of Adams, Montgomery, Taylor and Page Counties which had been approved at a meeting of the four school boards March 11, 1958. All five of the Page County and two Montgomery County board members voted for the proposal. Three (a majority) of the Montgomery County board voted against it.

Montgomery county board and four of the affected districts appealed this decision to the state department. Red Oak, Shenandoah and Clarinda boards also attempted to appeal but were eliminated on motion as not aggrieved parties under section 275.8.

The state board's order now before us in part states:

'The grounds of appeal set forth by the Montgomery County Board of Education contend such a proposed district does not meet the policy of the state of standards adopted by it to achieve sound reorganization of the school districts of the county. The Montgomery County Plan is violated and the welfare of adjoining districts is materially affected.

'Determination of what constitutes the 'best interest of the counties' must of necessity give consideration to the welfare of adjoining districts, the children, residents of the districts affected by the proposed change in county plans and the welfare of all districts in the county and surrounding counties.

'The record gives evidence as to the potential of the proposed district to serve the educational needs of the area included in the proposed district. It also gives evidence as to how these needs can be met in accordance with the county plan.

'The boundary lines as fixed for the proposed community school district changed the county plans of both county boards. The plan of the Montgomery County board of Education was substantially changed by the action of the joint boards when the boundary lines were fixed. Such a change not only affects the educational opportunities of the children, resident of some six school districts in Montgomery County included in the proposed reorganization but also children in adjoining districts. School districts should be planned not only to meet the immediate needs but with careful attention for the needs of the future so as to insure insofar as possible school districts that will be economical, efficient and provide equal educational opportunities for all children. * * *

'It is our opinion that the best interest of all the counties would be served by vacating the decision of the Joint Board of Page and Montgomery Counties.

'It is hereby ordered that the decision be vacated and that all proceedings in relation to the proposed Coburg-Essex Community School District be dismissed.'

We believe Board of Education, etc. v. County Board of Education, etc., Iowa, 121 N.W.2d 137 (filed April 9, 1963), decides the issues here presented.

Section 275.16 provides that where a controversy arises from a meeting of the joint boards any aggrieved school board or district may bring the controversy to the state department of public instruction and it 'shall have the authority to affirm the...

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2 cases
  • Meyer v. Campbell
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • August 31, 1967
    ...Iowa 992, 103 N.W.2d 746; In re Durant Community School Dist., 252 Iowa 237, 106 N.W.2d 670; Bd. of Education in and for Essex Ind. Sch. Dist. v. Board of Education, 255 Iowa 537, 122 N.W.2d 849. However, we are inclined to believe that the elements of decision permitted the county boards i......
  • Board of Ed. In and For Delaware County v. Bremen Tp. Rural Independent School Dist. of Delaware County
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • February 7, 1967
    ...prescribed in reorganization and merger proceedings, the decision of the State Board is final. Board of Education v. Board of Education in and for Montgomery County, 255 Iowa 537, 122 N.W.2d 849; County Board of Education in and for Bremer County v. Parker, 242 Iowa 1, 45 N.W.2d 567. Resort......

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