State ex rel. Harberts v. Klemme Community School Dist. of Hancock County, 48771

Decision Date18 October 1955
Docket NumberNo. 48771,48771
Citation247 Iowa 48,72 N.W.2d 512
PartiesSTATE of Iowa, ex rel. Harvey HARBERTS, Mel Verhelst, Harry Carpenter, Anson Avery, Donald Haupt, and John Watne, Appellants, v. KLEMME COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF HANCOCK COUNTY, Iowa, A. R. Arnold, Melvin Barz, Glen Lange, Roy Arnold, and Paul Kramer, Appellees.
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Smith & Hanson, Emmetsburg, for appellants.

Senneff & Buck, Britt, and G. W. Templeton, Garner, for appellees.

LARSON, Justice.

This is an appeal from the dismissal by the trial court of plaintiffs' petition in quo warranto brought to test the legality of the organization of the Klemme Community School District in Hancock County, Iowa. It is the second appeal brought to this court under the most recent enactment of the Iowa Legislature. By adopting the provisions of H. F. 229, Acts of the 55th General Assembly, now chapter 275, Code of Iowa 1954, I.C.A., the legislature has attempted to incorporate into one chapter of the Code the necessary procedures for changing existing school district boundaries. See Liberty Consol. School Dist. v. Schindler, Iowa, 70 N.W.2d 544. Acting thereunder, a petition was duly filed October 3, 1953, seeking the formation of the Belmond Community School District, which proposed district included lands in Wright and Hancock Counties. On October 30, 1953, there was also filed with the Hancock County Board of Education a petition seeking the formation of the Klemme Community School District incorporating only Hancock County land, but including within the proposed boundaries some of the territory included in the prior Belmond Community School District proposal. The Belmond Community School District proceeded with its organization as follows: first notice published October 8, 1953; first hearing October 19, 1953; adjourned hearing November 9, 1953; publication of notice of election December 3, 1953; date of election December 14, 1953; publication of notice of election of directors March 1, 1954; and election of directors March 15, 1954. No question is raised as to the legality of that school corporation.

The Klemme Community School District proceeded as follows: first published notices November 18 and 25, 1953; first hearing December 7, 1953; adjourned hearing January 4, 1954, notice of which was given by due publication December 16, 1953. On January 7, 1954, the county superintendent fixed the 8th day of February, 1954, as the date of the special election on whether to form the new district, and this notice was duly published on January 27, 1954. At the election February 8, 1954, the proposal carried pronouncedly except in the Goodell Independent School District, which was the district from which territory had been included in the proposed Belmond District. Only five electors, two of which are plaintiffs herein, were involved, and they voted Yes 3, No 2. On March 3, 1954, notice of election of directors was published and, pursuant thereto, directors were elected April 5, 1954.

There are a number of issues raised in this appeal, but it seems important that we first consider appellant's contention that the Klemme proceedings are illegal and void as being without jurisdiction. The reason, that throughout the proceedings its plan included territory already included in the prior-commenced and pending reorganization of the Belmond District, is quite persuasive, and this fact disturbed the trial court. Appellants point out that the Belmond District was reorganized pursuant to the action of the joint county boards of education for Wright and Hancock Counties. They argue that when it became apparent that the Belmond District was going to take lands in Hancock County, the Hancock County Board of Education participated in a rather obvious attempt to destroy the Belmond District plan then in the process of being reorganized, by approving a plan to reorganize a new district solely in Hancock County. They argue such procedure is an attempt to avoid the prescribed procedure available when one county of a joint county proceeding is dissatisfied with the boundaries fixed at that time, i. e. an appeal.

We think there is a serious jurisdictional defect in the Klemme proceedings. It is elementary that the same land cannot be within the jurisdiction of two pending reorganization proceedings at the same time. Bohrofen v. Dallas Center Ind. Sch. Dist., 242 Iowa 1070, 49 N.W.2d 514; Independent School Dist. of Switzer v. Gwinn, 178 Iowa 145, 159 N.W. 687. Jurisdiction was obtained first over the territory in the Goodell District of Hancock County by the Belmond Board. It was therefore improper for the Hancock County Board to attempt to fix boundaries so as to include that land. Though no statutory provision will be found in chapter 275 or elsewhere relating to such prohibition, it is too well settled for a citation of authority that without jurisdiction the succeeding actions of the board are invalid.

While acquiring jurisdiction by the county board usually is thought of as requiring only a petition signed by one third of the electors residing within the territory described within that county, section 275.12, and by a duly published notice as required in section 275.14, there is also a further requirement, i.e. that no part of the territory proposed for inclusion be already included in a pending district reorganization. This principle is not new in law, for it is well settled that prior jurisdiction once obtained in any legal proceeding prevents any subsequent effort to interfere with the orderly disposition under the first proceeding.

It is conceded the filing of the Belmond petition gave the joint board the initial jurisdiction over the area described in that petition. However, it did more; it gave the joint board sole jurisdiction...

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25 cases
  • Turnis v. Board of Ed. In and For Jones County, 50290
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • May 2, 1961
    ...State ex rel. Cox v. Consolidated Independent School District of Readlyn, 246 Iowa 566, 68 N.W.2d 305; State ex rel. Harberts v. Klemme Community School Dist., 247 Iowa 48, 72 N.W.2d 512. The problem relating to overlapping territory as it relates to the jurisdiction of the subject matter w......
  • Burd v. Board of Ed. of Audubon County
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • June 6, 1967
    ...the attempt of plaintiffs to obtain jurisdiction of the same land for its reorganization must fail. State ex rel. Harberts v. Klemme Community School Dist., 247 Iowa 48, 72 N.W.2d 512. We said therein at page 51 of 247 Iowa, at page 514 of 72 N.W.2d: 'It is elementary that the same land can......
  • State ex rel. Schilling v. Community School Dist. of Jefferson, Greene County
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • November 15, 1960
    ...by the Green county board ans such jurisdiction was not lost pending completion of the organization. State ex rel. Harberts v. Klemme Community School District, 247 Iowa 48, 72 N.W.2d 512; State ex rel. Cox v. Consolidated Independent School District of Readlyn, 246 Iowa 566, 68 N.W.2d 305;......
  • State ex rel. Mercer v. Incorporated Town of Crestwood, 49112
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • January 15, 1957
    ...in a conflict between annexation and incorporation the proceeding first instituted has precedence. State ex rel. Harberts v. Klemme Community School District, Iowa 1955, 72 N.W.2d 512; Bohrofen v. Dallas Center Independent School Dist., 242 Iowa 1070, 49 N.W.2d 514; Independent District of ......
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