Hadley v. Junior College Dist. of Metropolitan Kansas City, 52758

Decision Date09 September 1968
Docket NumberNo. 52758,52758
Citation432 S.W.2d 328
PartiesDella HADLEY et al., Appellants, v. The JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT OF METROPOLITAN KANSAS CITY, Missouri, et al., Respondents.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Irving Achtenberg, Kansas City, for appellants, Achtenberg, Sandler & Balkin, Kansas City, of counsel.

Norman H. Anderson, Atty. Gen., Louis C. Defeo, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, Dietrich, Tyler, Davis, Burrell & Dicus, William J. Burrell, Clarence H. Dicus, Arlyn D. Haxton, Kansas City, for respondents except Norman H. Anderson.

EAGER, Judge.

The plaintiffs here challenge as unconstitutional the method prescribed by § 178.820, RSMo (Cum.Supp.1967), V.A.M.S. for the election of trustees of the Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City and, supposedly, or all other existing junior college districts in Missouri. This suit is one for a declaratory judgment and permanent injunctions. Plaintiffs are five citizens and taxpayers of the defendant district and of the Kansas City School District; two of them are members of the Board of Trustees of the defendant district. The defendants are the district, its other four members, its Secretary, and the Attorney General of Missouri. Plaintiffs assert: that they fairly represent, as a class, all persons similarly situated in the State of Missouri (including those in other junior college districts) 'being chosen so as to fairly insure adequate representation of all;' that the questions raised are of common and general interest to all taxpayers and voters of the Kansas City School District; that the interested persons are too numerous to join; and that the defendants here are representative of all junior college districts in the state, their trustees, and their secretaries. There are eleven junior college districts in Missouri. We recognize plaintiffs as fairly representative of the citizens and taxpayers of the Kansas City School District, but no facts whatever are alleged to justify the conclusion that they fairly represent the citizens and taxpayers of any other junior college district or any part thereof; nor are defendants shown by factual allegations to be representative of the other districts and their officers. Civil Rules 52.09, 52.08, V.A.M.R. No other plaintiffs or defendants have entered an appearance. We recognize the action as a proper class suit on behalf of the citizens of the Kansas City School District against the named defendants only. Perhaps the resulting distinction is, in this case, more academic than real, but the allegations and claims are too broad.

Section 178.820, about which these issues revolve, is as follows:

'1. In the organization election six trustees shall be elected at large, except that if there are in the proposed junior college district one or more school districts with more than thirty-three and one-third per cent and not more than fifty per cent of the total school enumeration of the proposed district, as determined by the last school enumeration, then each such district shall elect two trustees and the remaining trustees shall be elected at large from the remainder of the proposed district. If any school district has more than fifty per cent and not more than sixty-six and two-thirds per cent of the total school enumeration of the proposed district then three trustees shall be elected at large from such school district and three trustees at large from the remainder of the proposed district. If any school district has more than sixty-six and two-thirds per cent of the total school enumeration of the proposed district then four trustees shall be elected at large from such school district and two trustees elected at large from the remainder of the proposed district. If the trustees are elected at large throughout the entire proposed district, the two receiving the greater number of votes shall be elected for terms of six years each, the two receiving the next greatest number of votes, for terms of four years each, the two receiving the next greatest number of votes, for terms of two years each. If the trustees are elected in any manner other than at large throughout the entire proposed district, then the trustees elected shall determine by lot the two who shall serve for six years, the two who shall serve for four years and the two who shall serve for two years. The period of time between the date of the organization election of the the date of the first regular election of the junior college district is considered a full two years in the terms of the directors. Thereafter, all trustees elected shall serve for terms of six years each.

'2. Candidates for the office of trustee shall be citizens of the United States, at least thirty years of age who have been resident taxpayers of the proposed district for at least one whole year preceding the election and if trustees are elected other than at large they shall be resident taxpayers of those election districts for at least one whole year next preceding the election. All candidates for the first board of a district shall file their declarations of candidacy with the state board of education at least thirty days prior to the date of the organization election.'

Plaintiffs seek to apply strictly the 'one man, one vote' principle to the election of all trustees of the defendant district (which we shall refer to as the 'district'). That district is composed of eight school districts, and includes parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass and Platte Counties, for a total area of about 400 square miles. Since we are dealing only with the pleadings and a stipulation, we are limited in the facts which we may consider. Plaintiffs have, in their brief, gone somewhat outside the allegations of their first amended petition. A 'Stipulation and Statement of Case' filed here under our Rule 82.13 adds little more; it eliminates one pleaded issue, states that the defendant district was organized on June 5, 1964, under Chapter 178, and that it has since maintained a junior college, offering 13th and 14th year courses; it lists in an exhibit the respective enumeration figures. Much of the statement of the case consists of a recital of the controversial legal contentions. It is stated that the latest 'school enumeration' of the Kansas City School District was 123,754 and that the total school enumeration of the remaining seven school districts in the defendant district was 84,252. Thus, the enumeration of the Kansas City District is 59.49% of the total. It is also alleged that three trustees were elected from the Kansas City District and three from the remainder of the defendant district. Further allegations of the petition are, in substance: that the trustees exercise legislative and administrative functions, including 'the levying of taxes, preparation of an annual budget, establishing of policies and procedures for the government of the district and otherwise functioning as the legislative and policy making body of the district;' that plaintiffs are denied the equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and by Article I, § 2 of the Missouri Constitution, by virtue of the dilution of their votes under the formula of § 178.820, and that this constitutes an invidious discrimination against them and against the other taxpayers and voters of the Kansas City School District; that their representation should be determined by population, and not by school enumeration; that the votes of those voters in the other school districts are weighted 'almost two times;' that defendant district is not a body representative of the people of the district, and that plaintiffs' votes have been 'debased.' Plaintiffs pray a declaration that those parts of § 178.820 providing the formula for electing trustees and § 178.840 (which provides more specifically for the details of elections) are unconstitutional and that broad injunctions shall issue, essentially stopping further elections until a proper reapportionment is made, either by legislation or by the court.

Motions to dismiss were filed, one by defendant Anderson separately, and one by the other defendants jointly. These challenged the validity of this suit as a proper class action against other junior college districts, and alleged that the petition failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. On December 2, 1966, the court entered an order sustaining both motions to dismiss but allowed plaintiffs 10 days to plead further; plaintiffs then filed a 'Motion for Rehearing or New Trial' which was overruled. They filed no further amendment. The court thereupon denied leave to plaintiffs to dismiss Count I (the only part involved here) without prejudice, noted that plaintiffs had failed to plead further, and entered final judgment dismissing plaintiffs' petition and cause of action with prejudice. Appeal was duly taken.

While we are furnished with rather meager facts, it does appear that the defendant district was organized under Chapter 178, and that the Kansas City School District has, under the statutory formula, elected three of the six trustees. The record further shows, as already indicated, that the Kansas City School District contains 59.49% of the 'school enumeration.' That term is described in § 167.011 as a yearly (required) enumeration of all persons in a school district between the ages of six and twenty, resident within the district. The stipulation shows the enumerations of the seven separate school districts other than the Kansas City District; these vary from 2749 to 23,865.

The issue is simply whether our statutory formula contained in § 178.820 is a violation of the equal protection provided by the federal and state constitutions. Plaintiffs argue that their votes are diluted to the extent that the voters in other districts (40.51%) elect one half of the trustees while their own district (59.49%) elects only the other half.

We shall spend no time in...

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11 cases
  • Hadley v. Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 25, 1970
    ...Court upheld the trial court's dismissal of the suit, stating that the 'one man, one vote' principle was not applicable in this case. 432 S.W.2d 328 (1968). We noted probable jurisdiction of the appeal, 393 U.S. 1115, 89 S.Ct. 991, 22 L.Ed.2d 120 (1969), and for the reasons set forth below ......
  • Giordano v. Amity Regional High School District# 5
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • May 13, 1970
    ...decided Hadley v. Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri, supra. Reversing the Missouri Supreme Court, 432 S.W.2d 328 (Mo.Sup.Ct.1968), the Supreme Court held that the one man, one vote principle applied to the election of the trustees of a consolidated junior college......
  • Blanco v. Gangloff
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court
    • February 10, 1970
    ...functions. Consequently, the Oliver decision, although of interest, is not controlling. It should be noted that Hadley v. Junior College District, 432 S.W.2d 328 (Mo.1968), is now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. See 393 U.S. 1115, 89 S.Ct. 991, 22 L.Ed.2d 120 (probabl......
  • McMillan v. Love
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • February 17, 2004
    ...unit of local government having general governmental powers over the entire geographic area served by the body." Hadley v. Junior College Dist., 432 S.W.2d 328, 334 (Mo.1968) (citing Avery v. Midland County, 390 U.S. 474, 483, 88 S.Ct. 1114, 1119, 20 L.Ed.2d 45, 53 (1968)). Further, the Mis......
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