Board of Educ., Woodward Public Schools, Independent School Dist. No. 1, Woodward County v. Hensley, 2

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma
Citation665 P.2d 327
Docket NumberNo. 4,No. 2,W,No. 58037,2,58037,4
Parties1983 OK CIV APP 31, 12 Ed. Law Rep. 146 BOARD OF EDUCATION, WOODWARD PUBLIC SCHOOLS, INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1, WOODWARD COUNTY, Oklahoma; Board of Education, Mooreland Public Schools, Independent School Districtoodward County, Oklahoma, Appellees, v. Mary Jane HENSLEY, Treasurer of the County of Woodward, State of Oklahoma, Appellant. Division
Decision Date17 May 1983

Appeal from the District Court, Woodward County; Joe Young, Trial Judge.

School District brought declaratory judgment action seeking to have interest earned on ad valorem taxes paid under protest distributed to the school districts with the funds on the determination of the protest. Trial court held all such interest should be distributed among the county school districts. County Treasurer appeals.


Tom Hieronymus and Duke Halley Hieronymus, Hodgden, Halley & Meyer Woodward, for appellees, Woodward Public Schools and Mooreland Public Schools, Woodward County.

L. Jack Barton, Dist. Atty., Crieg Rittenhouse, Asst. Dist. Atty., Woodward, for appellant, Mary Jane Hensley, County Treasurer of Woodward County.

Robert H. Macy, Dist. Atty., Jimanne Harris Mays, Asst. Dist. Atty., Oklahoma City, for amicus curiae, Joe B. Barnes, County Treasurer of Oklahoma County.

David L. Fist, J. Douglas Mann and John G. Moyer, Rosenstein, Fist & Ringold, Tulsa, for amici curiae, Independent School Districts Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 11 of Tulsa County.


This case requires the interpretation of various statutes dealing with ad valorem taxes paid under protest and the distribution of interest earned on such funds pending the determination of such protest.


On April 1, 1980, Oklahoma Nitrogen Company paid to the County Treasurer of Woodward County ad valorem taxes for the year 1979 in the amount of $275,351.69. This sum was paid under protest. Oklahoma Nitrogen brought an action in the District Court of Woodward County alleging that an unconstitutional ratio had been applied in determining the assessed value of its property.

On May 12, 1981, the trial court ordered a refund to Oklahoma Nitrogen Company of $73,484.40 and the balance of the protest funds to be apportioned by the county treasurer to the various governmental units of the county entitled thereto. The balance of the protest funds, $201,867.29, was apportioned in the following amounts:

                (1)  To Independent School
                     District No.1           --  $154,885.26
                (2)  To the Woodward
                     County Board of County
                     Commissioners           --    43,845.58
                (3)  To Independent School
                     District No. 2          --     1,458.09
                (4)  To Independent School
                     District No. 3          --     1,057.58
                (5)  To Independent School
                     District No. 5          --       620.78

Independent School District No. 1, the Woodward Public Schools, filed a petition in district court on July 27, 1981, alleging that the Woodward County Treasurer had invested the protested sums during the period Oklahoma Nitrogen's protest was pending. The Woodward Public Schools sought a declaratory judgment that the interest earned on its share of the distributed funds should be distributed to it along with its portion of the principal. The other Woodward County school districts, along with Oklahoma Nitrogen Company, had been joined as parties defendant with Mary Jane Hensley, Woodward County Treasurer. The school districts all subsequently joined in the Woodward Public Schools' prayer for the distribution of the interest earned.

In the course of this action the Woodward County Treasurer maintained that pursuant to 62 O.S.Supp.1974 § 348.1, she had been authorized to invest such funds and that the interest from this investment could properly be placed in the county general fund. The school districts relied upon the provisions of 70 O.S.1971 § 691, to support their claim that the interest gained on the invested funds should be apportioned and credited to the common school fund.

The trial court entered its order and judgment in this case on December 30, 1981. In this order the trial court noted that the county treasurer (the predecessor of the treasurer in this action) had commingled the taxes paid under protest with other funds in the treasurer's possession and that all parties accepted a figure of 10.36 percent as the earnings returned on this investment. The trial court then engaged in a lengthy analysis of the provisions of 62 O.S.Supp.1974 § 348.1, and 70 O.S.1971 § 691, in an attempt to reach a conclusion as to which statute controlled the interest earned and thus determined the proper distribution of that interest. The trial court found that prior to apportionment of funds received by the county treasurer interest returned on investment of money is controlled by 70 O.S.1971 § 691, and that that interest thus belonged to the school districts. The provisions of 62 O.S.Supp.1974 § 348.1, were found to apply only to monies which have been apportioned but which are not, at the time, needed for the purposes for which they are to be expended. The trial court found that, as the protested funds had not been apportioned at the time of their investment, all the interest earned was to be credited to the school districts.

The county treasurer now seeks review of the trial court's ruling on the grounds that the judgment is contrary to the law of the State of Oklahoma.


We initially state that we find no error in the trial court's construction as to the general applications of 62 O.S.Supp.1974 § 348.1, and 70 O.S.1971 § 691, and find his ruling in conformance with the standards set out in AMF Tubescope Co. v. Hatchel, Okl., 547 P.2d 374 (1976). We do, however, find error in the application of these general statutes to the case at hand. It is a well settled principle of statutory construction that where there are special statutory provisions which clearly include the matter in controversy and provide different rules and procedures from those in general statutory provisions the special statutory provisions are to be applied. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Oklahoma County Excise Board, Okl., 618 P.2d 915 (1980).

In the present case the trial court applied statutes which generally relate to the handling of funds in the custody of the county treasurer and the investment and distribution of interest earned from those funds. There are statutes which specifically apply to the taxes paid under protest in this case. Title 68 O.S.1971 § 2467(b), provides:

"When such taxes [assessed against property of taxpayer who has appealed amount of assessment] are paid, the persons paying the same shall give notice to the county treasurer that an appeal involving such taxes has been taken and is pending, and that the tax, or a specified portion thereof, is being paid under protest, and shall attach to such notice a copy of the petition filed in the court in which the appeal was taken. It shall be the duty of such treasurer to hold such taxes so paid under protest separate and apart from other taxes collected by him. If upon the final determination of any such appeal, the court shall find that the property had been assessed at too great an amount, the board of equalization from whose order the appeal was taken shall certify the corrected valuation of the property of such taxpayers to the county assessor, in accordance with the decision of the court, and shall send a copy of such certificate to the county treasurer. Upon...

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4 cases
  • Phillips v. Washington Legal Foundation
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 15, 1998
    ...43 N.D. 298, 301, 175 N.W. 195 (1919) (" [A]ccruing interest follows the principal''); Board of Educ., Woodward Public Schools v. Hensley, 665 P.2d 327, 331 (Okla.App.1983) ("The interest earned . . . becomes a part of the principal of the fund which generates it''); University of S.C. v. E......
  • City of Oklahoma City v. Oklahoma Tax Com'n
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • March 27, 1990
    ...504 S.W.2d 121, 126 (Mo.1973); Cross of Malta Bldg. Corp. v. Straub, 257 Or. 376, 476 P.2d 921, 924 (1970); Board of Educ. v. Hensley, 665 P.2d 327, 331 (Okla.App.1983); Pomona City School Dist. v. Payne, 9 Cal.App.2d 510, 50 P.2d 822, 825 (1935). See also, City of Bisbee v. Cochise County,......
  • Crowe v. Wright
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • February 9, 2021
    ...and an opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals, 68 O.S. § 2884, and Bd. of Educ., Woodward Pub. Schools v. Hensley, 1983 OK CIV APP 31, 665 P.2d 327. The county assessor also relied on an argument stating a specific procedure required by the ad valorem provisions in Title 68 of the Oklahoma S......
  • Throneberry v. Wright
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • February 9, 2021
    ...and an opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals, 68 O.S. § 2884, and Bd. of Educ., Woodward Pub. Schools v. Hensley , 1983 OK CIV APP 31, 665 P.2d 327. The county assessor also relied on an argument stating a specific procedure required by the ad valorem provisions in Title 68 of the Oklahoma ......

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