Board of Trustees of School Dist. No. 3, Natrona County v. District Boundary Bd. of Natrona County, No. 4038

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtMcINTYRE
Citation489 P.2d 413
PartiesThe BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3, IN the COUNTY OF NATRONA and State of Wyoming, et al., Appellants (Petitioners below), v. The DISTRICT BOUNDARY BOARD OF NATRONA COUNTY, Wyoming and the State CommitteeEstablished by Organization Law of 1969, Appellees (Respondents below).
Docket NumberNo. 4038
Decision Date07 October 1971

Page 413

489 P.2d 413
The BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3, IN the COUNTY OF NATRONA and State of Wyoming, et al., Appellants (Petitioners below),
v.
The DISTRICT BOUNDARY BOARD OF NATRONA COUNTY, Wyoming and the State CommitteeEstablished by Organization Law of 1969, Appellees (Respondents below).
No. 4038.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Oct. 7, 1971.
Supplemental Opinion Nov. 12, 1971. See 489 P.2d 1393.

Page 414

Ernest Wilkerson, Casper, for appellants.

John Burk, County Atty., W. T. Schwartz and Robert H. McCrary, Casper, for District Boundary Board of Natrona County, Wyoming, and Donald L. Painter, Special Asst. Atty. Gen., Cheyenne, for State Committee Established, by Organization Law of 1969, for appellees.

Before McINTYRE, C. J., and PARKER, McEWAN and GRAY, JJ.

Chief Justice McINTYRE delivered the opinion of the court.

The District Boundary Board of Natrona County made a decision that all of the school districts in Natrona County should be reorganized into a countywide unified school district. The State Committee for education approved the action of the District Boundary Board and purported to make such action final. Petitioners filed for review by the district court in Laramie County and it upheld actions of the Boundary Board and State Committee. Petitioners have appealed.

We consider first the power of the District Boundary Board to reorganize the county into a unified school district, and whether its decision in that regard is final and irreversible.

We very definitely held in Elementary School Districts 2, 3, and 10 v. District Boundary Board of Campbell County, Wyo., 454 P.2d 237 (May 9, 1969), that a county school boundary board had authority to consolidate all school districts of a county into a new countywide district. However, the decision was predicated on the language of Ch. 111, S.L. of Wyoming, 1961, which was applicable at that time.

Page 415

This statute provided, the district boundary board 'may at any time consolidate any such districts or portion of districts, when, in the opinion of such board such changes, alterations or consolidations may be justified by existing circumstances and conditions * * *.' In a footnote on page 238, we said it should be noted that subsequent to the appeal under consideration at that time all statutory references relating to the organization and reorganization of school districts had been repealed by the Wyoming Education Code of 1969.

When it comes to creating a countywide unified school district, the duties and powers of a district boundary board are noticeably more restricted and limited under the Wyoming Education Code of 1969 than they were under the 1961 law. Section 21.1-140, W.S.1957, 1971 Cum.Supp., now provides any district boundary board may submit in writing to the state committee a proposal which would:

'(a) Alter and change the boundaries of any school district of any kind; or

'(b) Reorganize any such district or portions of districts; or

'(c) Combine any school district or portion thereof having less than eight (8) pupils with any adjoining school district or districts * * *.'

It is noticeable from the foregoing that the boundary board merely proposes changes in boundaries. It does not actually effect changes. Moreover, there is no language which authorizes the board to make recommendations for a consolidation of all school districts into a single unified district, unless all of the smaller districts which are combined with a larger one have less than eight pupils. Several of the districts which the boundary board in this instance has proposed to combine with District 2 have more than eight pupils.

According to the language of § 21.1-140, the boundary board can propose to alter or change the boundaries of any school district (singular); it may propose to reorganize any such district (singular) or portions of districts; and it may propose to combine any such district (singular) or portion thereof, when such district or portion has less than eight pupils, with an 'adjoining' school district or districts.

Some of the districts here involved do not adjoin District 2. This might raise a question of whether it is sufficient for a district to adjoin some other district involved in the proposed unification. However, we need not answer that question. Actually, we need not be overtechnical about whether a district boundary board can propose a consolidation of all districts in a countywide unified district.

Chapter 6 of the Wyoming Education Code deals with the subject of SCHOOL DISTRICT ORGANIZATION. Chapter 7 deals with the subject of DISTRICT BOUNDARY BOARD. Section 21.1-142, W.S.1957, 1971 Cum.Supp., a part of the District Boundary Board chapter, specifies that the state committee, in approving or rejecting a proposal of the boundary board, shall consider the effect of the proposal upon the purposes of the Wyoming School District Organization Law of 1969. Also, the section states no proposal shall be approved if in the opinion of the state committee it would hamper efforts toward school...

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12 practice notes
  • Natrona County School Dist. No. 1 v. Ryan, Nos. 88-13
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 15, 1988
    ...County, 712 P.2d 331 (Wyo.1985); Board of Trustees of School Dist. No. 3, Natrona County v. District Boundary Bd. of Natrona County, 489 P.2d 413 (Wyo.1971); Wyoming Dept. of Revenue v. Wilson, 401 P.2d 960 (Wyo.1965). Here on appeal, state educational responsibilities and funding obligatio......
  • First Nat. Bank of Worland v. Financial Institutions Bd., No. 5258
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 15, 1980
    ...hold office is a quo warranto proceeding. Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board of Natrona County, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413 (1971), supplemented by 489 P.2d 1393 (1971); Dickerson v. City Council of City of Buffalo, Wyo., 582 P.2d 80 (1978). Appellants' challenge o......
  • Hyatt v. Big Horn School Dist. No. 4, No. 4
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 23, 1981
    ...if such are shown to be arbitrary, capricious or fraudulent, Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413, 417 (1971), supplemented 489 P.2d 1393 (1971); Monahan v. Board of Trustees, County of Fremont, Wyo., 486 P.2d 235, 237 (1971); Bixby v. Cr......
  • U.S. Steel Corp. v. Wyoming Environmental Quality Council, No. 4792
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 2, 1978
    ...associated with such a hearing. This court indicated in Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413, 417, " . . . regardless of precise statutory authority, courts must remain open with inherent power to review administrative action when it is a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Natrona County School Dist. No. 1 v. Ryan, Nos. 88-13
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 15, 1988
    ...County, 712 P.2d 331 (Wyo.1985); Board of Trustees of School Dist. No. 3, Natrona County v. District Boundary Bd. of Natrona County, 489 P.2d 413 (Wyo.1971); Wyoming Dept. of Revenue v. Wilson, 401 P.2d 960 (Wyo.1965). Here on appeal, state educational responsibilities and funding obligatio......
  • First Nat. Bank of Worland v. Financial Institutions Bd., No. 5258
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 15, 1980
    ...hold office is a quo warranto proceeding. Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board of Natrona County, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413 (1971), supplemented by 489 P.2d 1393 (1971); Dickerson v. City Council of City of Buffalo, Wyo., 582 P.2d 80 (1978). Appellants' challenge o......
  • Hyatt v. Big Horn School Dist. No. 4, No. 4
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 23, 1981
    ...if such are shown to be arbitrary, capricious or fraudulent, Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413, 417 (1971), supplemented 489 P.2d 1393 (1971); Monahan v. Board of Trustees, County of Fremont, Wyo., 486 P.2d 235, 237 (1971); Bixby v. Cr......
  • U.S. Steel Corp. v. Wyoming Environmental Quality Council, No. 4792
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 2, 1978
    ...associated with such a hearing. This court indicated in Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 413, 417, " . . . regardless of precise statutory authority, courts must remain open with inherent power to review administrative action when it......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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