Shelby Community School Dist. v. Halverson, No. 52907

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtGARFIELD; All Justices concur except that LARSON
Citation261 Iowa 1329,158 N.W.2d 163
PartiesSHELBY COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Burton HALVERSON, Superintendent of Schools of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Defendant, Hancock-Avoca Community School District et al., Intervenors-Appellants.
Decision Date09 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 52907

Page 163

158 N.W.2d 163
261 Iowa 1329
SHELBY COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Burton HALVERSON, Superintendent of Schools of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Defendant,
Hancock-Avoca Community School District et al., Intervenors-Appellants.
No. 52907.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 9, 1968.

[261 Iowa 1330]

Page 164

Gamble, Riepe, Martin & Webster, Des Moines, for intervenors-appellants.

Smith, Peterson, Beckman, Willson & Peterson, Council Bluffs, for plaintiff-appellee.

George Knoke, County Atty., Council Bluffs, for defendant.

GARFIELD, Chief Justice.

This is a school reorganization controversy involving two school districts, each of which maintains a high school, and three smaller, non-high school districts. It was sought to merge the smaller districts with plaintiff Shelby Community School District by petitions for merger, signed by the requisite number of voters of each of the smaller districts, under section 275.40 Codes 1962, 1966. It was also sought to unite the same three smaller districts with Hancock-Avoca Community School District into a single district, to be known [261 Iowa 1331] as Avoca Community School District, by reorganization under sections 275.12 to 275.23.

Shelby and Hancock-Avoca are the two larger districts each of which maintains a high school in the towns of Shelby and Avoca respectively. The three smaller districts are Minden Independent, Minden Township and York Township districts. Only the former

Page 165

maintains even a grade school--in the town of Minden. All high school pupils and some of grade school age in these three districts are 'tuitioned out' to other districts, a majority of them to Hancock-Avoca.

Plaintiff Shelby District lies between Hancock-Avoca District on the east and Minden and York Township districts on the west. Minden Independent District is virtually surrounded by Minden Township District.

The accompanying map reproduced from exhibits certified to us should help visualize the various districts.

NOTE: OPINION CONTAINS TABLE OR OTHER DATA THAT IS NOT VIEWABLE

The Shelby District brought this action in equity to enjoin the reorganization proceeding under sections 275.12--275.23 as illegal on the ground Hancock-Avoca District is not contiguous to the area with which it was sought to be united. Section 275.11 states: '* * * contiguous territory located in two or more school districts may be united into a single district in the manner provided in sections 275.12 to 275.23 hereof.'

[261 Iowa 1332] The accompanying map shows the only point of contact between Hancock-Avoca

Page 166

District and the remaining area sought to be united with it is at the northeast corner of section 18 on the Kay farm. At this point section 18, which Hancock-Avoca District claims is part of the York Township District, corners with a portion of the former district.

The trial court held Hancock-Avoca District was not contiguous to York Township District because the only point of contact between the two was at this corner of section 18.

Hancock-Avoca and the three smaller districts together with certain members of the board of directors of each of them, have appealed to us. They intervened in the action and, together[261 Iowa 1333] with defendant superintendent of schools of Pottawattamie County, filed answer to plaintiff's petition.

Much of appellants' brief is devoted to the proposition that the areas sought to be reorganized into a single district are contiguous although they touch only at the corner of section 18. However, the appeal presents other questions. The most important of these may as well be stated now.

I. The petition of appellant districts to unite by reorganization under Code sections 275.12 to 275.23 was filed with defendant county superintendent of schools on March 15, 1966 at 5:40 p.m. In June 1964 the owners of the Kay land in section 18 brought action against the Board of Education of Pottawattamie County to have the attachment by the board of their land to the York Township District, which was to become effective July 1, 1964, held to be illegal and to enjoin carrying it out on the ground the land was a remnant of the James District containing less than four sections which had never been included in any school reorganization and the law (section 275.1) required it to be attached to a district maintaining 12 grades. (As stated, the York district maintained no school.)

Following trial the district court on August 29, 1964 upheld the contention of the Kays, held the attachment of their land to the York District was illegal and enjoined the county board from proceeding therewith. The county board appealed the decision to us but, pursuant to stipulation of the parties, we dismissed the appeal on June 8, 1965.

Because the certification to the county auditor of the Kay land as part of the York District was not withdrawn following the above decision the Kays sought to have the county board adjudged in contempt. Although the court refused to hold the board in contempt it did order it to cause the above certification to be withdrawn immediately. Upon the board's appeal from this order we affirmed it. Kay v. Board of Education, Iowa, 154 N.W.2d 137. Referring to our dismissal of the board's appeal from the original decree of August 29, 1964, our opinion states: 'Regardless of the reason for the dismissal of the appeal the district court's order was a final order.' (at page 138 of 154 N.W.2d)

Significance of all this is that under the decision in the [261 Iowa 1334] suit commenced by the Kays their land, which supplies the sole point of contact between the districts sought to be united with Hancock-Avoca District and that district, never legally became part of York Township District. It remained part of the remnant (of two sections, including the Kay 480 acres) of James Township District. This remnant was not properly part of the attempted reorganization under sections 275.12 to 275.23 since the number of signatures required by 275.12 of voters in the James remnant was not affixed to the petition.

This statute requires: 'Such petition shall be signed by voters In each existing school district affected or portion thereof equal in number to at least twenty percent of the number of eligible voters or four hundred voters, whichever is the smaller number. School districts affected or portion thereof shall be defined to mean that area to be included in the plan of the proposed new school district.' (emphasis added.)

Page 167

Appellants' excellent brief concedes their petition for reorganization was one signature short of the required number if the Kay land was not part of the York District. Only one of a total of eight eligible voters in the remnant portion of the James district signed the petition. This one signer did not reside on the Kay farm.

In an attempt to avoid the effect of the decree of August 29, 1964 in the Kay case appellants make substantially the same argument our opinion in 154 N.W.2d 137, 139, rejected as unsound when advanced by the Pottawattamie County Board of...

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2 practice notes
  • Albertson's Inc. v. Department of Business Regulation, No. 14753
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • October 11, 1979
    ...in question was not foreseen or contemplated by the Legislature. Shelby Community School District v. Halverson (1968), 26 Iowa 329, 158 N.W.2d 163; Farmers & Mech. Sav. Bank v. Department of Commerce (1960), 258 Minn. 99, 102 N.W.2d 827. Here the Act gives the department broad powers of sup......
  • State v. Prouty, No. 55399
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 26, 1974
    ...intent into those statutes. See State v. Wedelstedt, 213 N.,.w.2d 652, 656 (Iowa 1973); Shelby Community Sch. Dist. v. Halverson, 261 Iowa 1329, 1338--1339, 158 N.W.2d 163 (1968); Iowa R.Civ.P. Admittedly, the argument have voiced by defendant might be appropriately directed to the General ......
2 cases
  • Albertson's Inc. v. Department of Business Regulation, No. 14753
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • October 11, 1979
    ...in question was not foreseen or contemplated by the Legislature. Shelby Community School District v. Halverson (1968), 26 Iowa 329, 158 N.W.2d 163; Farmers & Mech. Sav. Bank v. Department of Commerce (1960), 258 Minn. 99, 102 N.W.2d 827. Here the Act gives the department broad powers of sup......
  • State v. Prouty, No. 55399
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 26, 1974
    ...intent into those statutes. See State v. Wedelstedt, 213 N.,.w.2d 652, 656 (Iowa 1973); Shelby Community Sch. Dist. v. Halverson, 261 Iowa 1329, 1338--1339, 158 N.W.2d 163 (1968); Iowa R.Civ.P. Admittedly, the argument have voiced by defendant might be appropriately directed to the General ......

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