Paulson v. Minidoka County School Dist. No. 331, No. 331

CourtIdaho Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMcQUADE; McFADDEN; SHEPARD
Citation463 P.2d 935,93 Idaho 469
PartiesJack PAULSON, Dan Paulson, and Kirk Paulson, Plaintiffs-Respondents, v. MINIDOKA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTale Garner, Leonard Martin, LeoMoore, Kenneth Shufeldt, Dave Spreier, as individuals and as Trustees of SchoolDistrict, and Camden Meyer, Supperintendent of Schools, Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date16 January 1970
Docket NumberNo. 331,D,No. 10418

Page 935

463 P.2d 935
93 Idaho 469
Jack PAULSON, Dan Paulson, and Kirk Paulson, Plaintiffs-Respondents,
v.
MINIDOKA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT No. 331, Dale Garner, Leonard Martin, LeoMoore, Kenneth Shufeldt, Dave Spreier, as individuals and as Trustees of SchoolDistrict No. 331, and Camden Meyer, Supperintendent of Schools, Defendants-Appellants.
No. 10418.
Supreme Court of Idaho.
Jan. 16, 1970.

[93 Idaho 470]

Page 936

Creason & Creason, Rupert, and Moffatt, Thomas, Barrett & Blanton, Boise, for appellants.

Goodman & Duff, Rupert, for respondents.

J. N. Leggat, Boise, amicus curiae.

McQUADE, Justice.

This action was instituted by Jack Paulson, and his sons Dan and Kirk Paulson, to secure an alternative writ of mandate, a peremptory writ of prohibition, declaratory relief, general damages, punitive damages and costs of the action. They sought to compel the defendants Minidoka County School District, its trustees and superintendent, hereinafter referred to collectively as the 'school,' to furnish a transcript of grades to Dan Paulson who graduated from Minidoka County High School in June, 1968. Dan and Kirk both attended the high school during the school year 1967-1968. Dan graduated that school year, and Kirk attended school during the 1968-1969 term. The issues in the present case arose from the adoption in 1967 by the Board of Trustees of the Minidoka County School District of the following schedule of fees to be charged each student attending the high school:

"School District Fees $ 2.50
                 Text Book Fees 10.00
                 Activity Ticket 3.50
                 Student Council Fee 1.00
                 Newspaper 1.00
                 Annual (Yearbook) 5.60
                 Cap and Gown Fee 1.00
                 Class Fee .40
                 ------
                 $25.00 "
                

In July, 1968, the fee schedule was amended so that although the same total of $25.00 per student was charged, the fees were itemized only as 'Text Book Fees'-$12.50 and 'School Activity Fees' -$12.50, total $25.00.

Dan and Kirk Paulson have each year refused to pay these fees. The school would not accept partial payment allocated to any one particular item, but insisted that the fees be paid in their entirety. Failure to pay the fees, however, did not in any way affect the student's right to attend classes. Not only were nonpaying students allowed to attend classes, but they were also furnished textbooks free of charge. Until 1968-1969 all students were regularly given a student activity card and thereby allowed to attend social and athletic events even though the fees were not paid. Yearbooks were not furnished, nor were non-paying students allowed to purchase a yearbook since the school's policy was that the entire $25.00 fee be paid. Upon graduation Dan Paulson was furnished a cap and gown and presented a diploma.

[93 Idaho 471]

Page 937

Although a student could thus accumulate an 'education' without payment of the fees, the impediment is that the school refuses to furnish a transcript of courses studied and grades achieved. When Dan applied to Idaho State University for admission, the school would not furnish a University required transcript. Dan was, however, provisionally admitted and this action was instituted to compel the high school to furnish a transcript.

Following trial, the district court rendered judgment that the fee charging practice of the school district is unconstitutional and issued a writ of mandate ordering the defendants to furnish Idaho State University a transcript. The court denied the respondents' prayer for damages. It is from that judgment that the appellants take this appeal.

Our task in this case is to determine the application of art. 9, sec. 1 of the Constitution of the State of Idaho to this particular factual situation. That section is:

'The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.'

Because of the delicacy and difficulty in resolving constitutional problems we settle such questions on a case-by-case basis. We, today, affirm the judgment of the lower court; and we hold that public high schools in Idaho are 'common schools' within the meaning of art. 9, sec. 1; that the $25.00 fee as it was charged in this case offended the requirement that the 'common schools' be 'free;' and that the appellants were under a clear legal duty to furnish transcripts to eligible graduates of Minidoka County High School. We decide these issues because they are necessary for the final determination of this action.

Appellants contend that the term 'common schools' does not include 'high schools' such as the Minidoka County High School. To support this contention, they have directed our attention to several Idaho statutes of varying age which distinguish between 'elementary' and 'secondary' schools. Such distinction is for administrative convenience, and has no relevance to the term common schools as used in art. 9, sec. 1 of our constitution. They also refer to a South Dakota case which is not in point. 1 On this basis they argue that 'common' is limited to 'elementary'. This argument is not in accord with the reasoning or the holdings in practically every case deciding this issue.

While we have never decided the question raised in this case, on a number of occasions this Court has been called upon to...

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30 practice notes
  • Randolph County Bd. of Educ. v. Adams, No. 22902
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • December 14, 1995
    ...to a free school system. We find the holdings of these jurisdictions persuasive. In Paulson v. Minidoka County School District No. 331, 93 Idaho 469, 472, 463 P.2d 935, 938-39 (1970), the Supreme Court of Idaho "Textbooks are necessary elements of any school's activity. They represent a fix......
  • Hartzell v. Connell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 20, 1984
    ...curriculum." (Smith v. Crim (1977) 240 Ga. 390, 391, 240 S.E.2d 884; see also Paulson v. Minidoka County School District No. 331 (1970) 93 Idaho 469, 472, 463 P.2d 935.) Under this view, the right to an education does not extend to activities that are "outside of or in addition to the regul......
  • Thompson v. Engelking, No. 11534
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 1, 1975
    ...Constitutional Convention May 11, 1889, 1 Constitutional Proceedings, p. VI. 48 See generally Paulson v. Minidoka County School District, 93 Idaho 469, 463 P.2d 935 49 1 Constitutional Proceedings at 695 (Emphasis added). 50 It should also be pointed out that the education article, setting ......
  • Nagy v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp., No. 82A01-0308-CV-299.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 28, 2004
    ...light of 1963 state constitutional provision for "free public elementary and secondary schools."), Paulson v. Minidoka County Sch. Dist., 93 Idaho 469, 463 P.2d 935 (1970) (fee applied towards textbooks and extracurricular activities was improper given state constitutional provision requiri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Randolph County Bd. of Educ. v. Adams, No. 22902
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • December 14, 1995
    ...to a free school system. We find the holdings of these jurisdictions persuasive. In Paulson v. Minidoka County School District No. 331, 93 Idaho 469, 472, 463 P.2d 935, 938-39 (1970), the Supreme Court of Idaho "Textbooks are necessary elements of any school's activity. They represent a fix......
  • Hartzell v. Connell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 20, 1984
    ...curriculum." (Smith v. Crim (1977) 240 Ga. 390, 391, 240 S.E.2d 884; see also Paulson v. Minidoka County School District No. 331 (1970) 93 Idaho 469, 472, 463 P.2d 935.) Under this view, the right to an education does not extend to activities that are "outside of or in addition to the regul......
  • Thompson v. Engelking, No. 11534
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 1, 1975
    ...Constitutional Convention May 11, 1889, 1 Constitutional Proceedings, p. VI. 48 See generally Paulson v. Minidoka County School District, 93 Idaho 469, 463 P.2d 935 49 1 Constitutional Proceedings at 695 (Emphasis added). 50 It should also be pointed out that the education article, setting ......
  • Nagy v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp., No. 82A01-0308-CV-299.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • May 28, 2004
    ...light of 1963 state constitutional provision for "free public elementary and secondary schools."), Paulson v. Minidoka County Sch. Dist., 93 Idaho 469, 463 P.2d 935 (1970) (fee applied towards textbooks and extracurricular activities was improper given state constitutional provision requiri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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