School Tp. of Bloomfield v. Independent School Dist. of Castalia

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBISHOP, J.
Citation112 N.W. 5,134 Iowa 349
Decision Date17 May 1907

Appeal from Winneshiek District Court.--HON. L. E. FELLOWS, Judge.

ACTION to set aside and declare void proceedings by which an independent school district was attempted to be formed, and for an injunction. The action having been heard on its merits, the petition of plaintiff was dismissed, and there was judgment in favor of defendants for costs. Plaintiff appeals.


John B Kaye, for appellant.

F. S Burling, for appellees.



The plaintiff school township and the defendant school district are alleged to be school corporations in Winneshiek county. The individual defendants, George Allen et al., are alleged to be acting as directors and officers of a pretended school corporation styled the "New Independent School District of Castalia," in said county. A recital of the matters and events leading up to this litigation will aid in bringing out with clearness the points in controversy. Up to the year 1882 the school township of Bloomfield included all of the civil township of Bloomfield in said county. In that year there was organized the Independent School District of Castalia, which included the lands within the territorial limits of the village of Castalia in said township, and considerable territory outside thereof--in all two thousand and forty acres of land. As formed, the independent district was wholly within the township. It was very irregular in shape, being of the extreme length at one point of three and three-quarters miles, north and south, and, at one point, no more than one-quarter of a mile in width. In the year 1901 Castalia became incorporated as a town under the statute, and, as laid out, the corporate limits included five hundred and sixty acres of the lands within the independent district and eight hundred acres lying without such district. The inhabitants of the town as thus incorporated numbered about two hundred, nearly all of whom resided within the limits of the independent district. With the qualification hereinafter to be referred to, matters stood in this condition until April 30, 1904, when, relying upon the provisions of section 2794, Code Supp., a petition was presented to the board of the independent district looking to the establishment of a new independent district, which, in addition to all of the territory within the corporate limits of the town of Castalia, should include the major portion of the territory embraced within the limits of the old independent district, and considerable new territory adjoining the said town, being territory at the time and theretofore a part of the plaintiff school township. Acting upon such petition the board proceeded to establish a new district in accordance with such petition. Notice was given and an election was held at which the formation of the new district was approved by a majority of those electors who appeared and voted on the proposition. A meeting followed at which the defendants Allen et al. were elected directors, and they organized as a board and assumed charge of the affairs of the new district. This action was brought to have the proceedings, of which recitation has thus been made, declared void and of no effect.

I. The primary contention of appellant is that, in view of the situation as it existed, there was no authority of law to proceed to the formation of a new independent district which should include territory theretofore a part of the school township; that, at most, a change of boundary line as authorized by section 2793a, Code Supp., was possible of accomplishment. It is possible that a determination of the question thus made is unnecessary in view of our conclusion on the matter discussed in the following division of this opinion. As the controversy, however, is not one between individuals asserting private rights, but has relation to the rights and powers of school corporations and the officers thereof, we think it appropriate to make pronouncement on the subject. We shall proceed, therefore, to dispose of the question, and this we may do without stopping to question the right of plaintiff to sue. Prior to the sitting of the Twenty-Seventh General Assembly there was no provision of statute authorizing a change in the boundary lines between a school township and an independent city or town district. Code, section 2793, as theretofore existing, went no farther than to provide for a change of lines between contiguous independent districts. The General Assembly mentioned passed an act supplementary to section 2793, which act is now known as section 2793a, Code Supp., wherein it is provided that, when the boundary line between a school township and an independent city or town district is not also the line between civil townships, such boundary may be changed at any time by the concurrence of the board of directors. The plain effect of these provisions of statute is to authorize adjoining school corporations, each being independent, or one independent, and the other a school township, acting as such, through their respective boards of directors, to accomplish a change by agreement in corporate boundary limits. That the plaintiff school township and the old independent district might have thus proceeded in their corporate capacity is probably not open to doubt.

But it does not follow that a change in boundary lines may not be accomplished in any other way than by joint corporate action. Section 2794 of the Code, which, as we have seen, was proceeded under in the present instance, provides, in substance, that, upon the written petition of any ten voters of a town of over one hundred residents to the board of the school corporation in which the portion of the town plat having the largest number of voters is situated, such board shall establish the boundaries of a proposed independent district, including therein all of the town, and also such contiguous territory in the same or any adjoining school corporations as may be authorized by a written petition of a majority of the resident electors of the contiguous territory proposed to be so included in said district, and as may best subserve the conveniences of the people for school purposes. It is then provided that an election shall be held to ratify or reject the new district as proposed. Here it will be observed the right to institute proceedings and bring about a change is with the electors and it does not matter that some are residents within the territorial limits of one school corporation, and some of one or more others. So, too, the right is altogether imperative as it is arbitrary. The school board to whom the petition is addressed has no alternative but to proceed in accordance with the petition,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1 cases
  • Sch. Tp. of Bloomfield v. Indfpendent Sch. Dist. of Castalia
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 17, 1907
    ...134 Iowa 349112 N.W. 5SCHOOL TP. OF BLOOMFIELDv.INDFPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. OF CASTALIA ET AL.Supreme Court of Iowa.May 17, 1907.         Appeal from ..., Judge.        Action to set aside and declare void proceedings by which an independent school district was attempted to be formed and for an injunction. The action having been heard on ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT