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

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore McINTYRE; McINTYRE; PARKER
Citation489 P.2d 1393
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 Committee Established by Organization Law of 1969, Appellees (Respondents below).
Docket NumberNo. 4038
Decision Date12 November 1971

Page 1393

489 P.2d 1393
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 Committee Established by Organization Law of 1969, Appellees (Respondents below).
No. 4038.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Nov. 12, 1971.
Order Filed Dec. 15, 1971.

Robert R. Rose, Jr., 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.

C. A. Brimmer, Atty. Gen., Donald L. Painter, Special Asst. Atty. Gen., Cheyenne, for State Committee Established by Organization Law of 1969.

Page 1394

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

SUPPLEMENTAL OPINION

McINTYRE, Chief Justice.

We have retained jurisdiction in this case since the rendering of our original opinion, which is reported at 489 P.2d 413.

Subsequent to such original opinion, appellees have made application for an order clarifying the status of the countywide unified district in Natrona County. The unified district resulted from a decision of the District Boundary Board of Natrona County and the action of the State Committee for education which approved the decision of the boundary board. Appellants have objected and filed a written resistance to the application of appellees.

Regardless of whether legal and proper steps have been followed in all respects, it is apparent from the filings of both appellees and appellants that the formation of a countywide unified school district in Natrona County is an accomplished fact. We do not say such district is a de jure district. It is nevertheless a de facto district.

As stated in 47 Am.Jur., Schools, § 24, p. 314, the legality of the organization of a de facto school district, one operating under color of law, cannot be collaterally attacked, but can be determined only in a direct proceeding brought for that purpose.

In School District No. 21 in Fremont County v. Board of Commissioners of Fremont County, 15 Wyo. 73, 86 P. 24, 25-26, 11 Ann.Cas. 1058, it was held, for purposes of a suit to enjoin payment of a special school tax to a school district, the district must be presumed legally organized and existing; and its existence can be inquired into only in direct proceedings. Although that case was decided in 1906, there is no showing that it has ever been reversed or modified.

It was held in State ex rel. Smith v. Gardner, Mo.App., 204 S.W.2d 319, 322, where a meeting was held and a vote taken to consolidate designated school districts, a de facto consolidated district was created, and officers thereof who were elected at the meeting were de facto officers of the district, regardless of any irregularity in the proceedings.

A de facto officer is defined as a person who has the reputation of being the officer he assumes to be, and yet is not a good officer in point of law; or an officer in possession of and exercising the powers of the office under the claim and color of an election or appointment, though he is not an officer de jure and may be removed by proper proceedings. Ballentine, Law Dictionary with Pronouncements, Second Edition (1948).

It is stated in 67 C.J.S. Officers § 4, p. 107, one distinction between an officer de facto and an officer de jure is that the former has only color of an appointment or election to the office, while the latter is in all respects legally appointed or elected and qualified to exercise the office as against the world. As sometimes stated, the difference between the authority of a de jure officer and that of a de facto officer is that the former rests on right and the latter rests on reputation.

It is settled law in this jurisdiction that quo warranto is the appropriate and exclusive remedy for trying title to public office. State...

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5 practice notes
  • First Nat. Bank of Worland v. Financial Institutions Bd., No. 5258
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 15, 1980
    ...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 of the constituency of this Board cannot be......
  • Hyatt v. Big Horn School Dist. No. 4, No. 4
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 23, 1981
    ...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. Cross, Wyo., 384 P.2d 710, 714 (1963), we will n......
  • First Nat. Bank of Thermopolis v. Bonham, No. 4640
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 20, 1977
    ...Trustees of School District No. 3 in Natrona County v. District Boundary Board of Natrona County, Wyo.1971, 489 P.2d 413, supplemented by 489 P.2d 1393, where under an entirely different set of circumstances, this court admonished counsel against raising frivolous objections to service of a......
  • Hankins v. District Boundary Bd. of Natrona County, No. 4117
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 2, 1972
    ...PARKER, McEWAN and GUTHRIE, JJ. McINTYRE, Chief Justice. In Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 1393, 1394, we held, regardless of whether legal and proper steps had been followed in all respects, it was apparent the formation of a countywid......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • First Nat. Bank of Worland v. Financial Institutions Bd., No. 5258
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 15, 1980
    ...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 of the constituency of this Board cannot be......
  • Hyatt v. Big Horn School Dist. No. 4, No. 4
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 23, 1981
    ...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. Cross, Wyo., 384 P.2d 710, 714 (1963), we will n......
  • First Nat. Bank of Thermopolis v. Bonham, No. 4640
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 20, 1977
    ...Trustees of School District No. 3 in Natrona County v. District Boundary Board of Natrona County, Wyo.1971, 489 P.2d 413, supplemented by 489 P.2d 1393, where under an entirely different set of circumstances, this court admonished counsel against raising frivolous objections to service of a......
  • Hankins v. District Boundary Bd. of Natrona County, No. 4117
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • November 2, 1972
    ...PARKER, McEWAN and GUTHRIE, JJ. McINTYRE, Chief Justice. In Board of Trustees of School District No. 3 v. District Boundary Board, Wyo., 489 P.2d 1393, 1394, we held, regardless of whether legal and proper steps had been followed in all respects, it was apparent the formation of a countywid......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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