State v. School Dist. of Lathrop, No. 26203.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtWhite
Citation284 S.W. 135
PartiesSTATE ex inf. OTTO, Atty. Gen., ex rel. HARRINGTON et ux. v. SCHOOL DIST. OF LATHROP et al.
Decision Date09 April 1926
Docket NumberNo. 26203.
284 S.W. 135
STATE ex inf. OTTO, Atty. Gen., ex rel. HARRINGTON et ux.
v.
SCHOOL DIST. OF LATHROP et al.
No. 26203.
Supreme Court of Missouri, in Banc.
April 9, 1926.
Rehearing Denied May 21, 1926.

[284 S.W. 136]

Quo warranto, challenging authority of town school district to exercise jurisdiction over territory of former common school districts joined to it, will not be granted state on relation of property owner in territory joined where there is no evidence that school conditions would be improved, it being probable that they would be impaired.

Quo Warranto by the State, on the information of Robert W. Otto, Attorney General, on the relation of Wm. R. Harrington and wife, against the School District of Lathrop and others. Proceedings dismissed.

John A. Cross, R. H. Musser, and Press T. Cross, all of Lathrop, for relators.

W. S. Herndon and Daniel H. Frost, both of Plattsburg, for respondents.

WHITE, J.


The Attorney General, on March 21, 1925, at the relation of the relators, filed in this court his information in the nature of a quo warranto in which he challenges the authority of the school district of Lathrop to exercise jurisdiction over certain territory, which relators claim is not within the territory of that school district but belongs to school districts Nos. 44 and 45 in Clinton county, Mo. Respondents filed their answer and return, setting up facts which they claim bring the disputed territory into the Lathrop district. The relators filed a reply, joining issue on certain averments of fact pleaded in the return.

Thereafter on July 3, 1925, this court appointed E. L. Alford special commissioner to take evidence upon the issues so joined and report to this court. The commissioner duly filed his report on January 11, 1926, transmitting with that report the evidence taken in pursuance of this court's order. The cause was argued and submitted during the January call of court in banc upon the record as thus presented.

It appears from the allegations of the petition, admitted in the answer, and the evidence produced here, that, prior to April 3, 1917, the school district of Lathrop in Clinton county was a town school district with six directors, and more than 200 pupils of school age; that it contained within its boundaries certain lands described in the petition, comprising one and three-fourths sections. At that date school district No. 44 was a common school district adjoining the district of Lathrop on the east, and comprised several sections of land. School district No. 45 was a common school district comprising several sections adjoining the school district of Lathrop on the west.

At the regular annual meeting of all the school districts, April 3, 1917, the school district of Tothrop, school district No. 44, and school district No. 45 voted to extend the boundaries of the district of Lathrop so as to include all the territory in the two country districts, Nos. 44 and 45. The illegality of that proceeding is asserted by the relators. They claim that the proceeding was void, and the district of Lathrop has no authority or jurisdiction over the territory which formerly comprised districts Nos. 44 and 45, and no right to collect taxes on the property therein that the respondents Rogers and Stonum residing in the territory of the original districts Nos. 44 and 45 have no authority to act as directors of the school district of Lathrop. The respondents say that the proceeding was regular, and that the relators are guilty of such laches as to preclude their right to have it annulled.

Evidence of considerable volume was taken and reported by the commissioner, and we find no serious conflict as to the facts. The notices of the annual school meetings in each of the districts specified, among other things, that a proposition would be submitted to extend the boundaries as stated above; that they were in regular form and duly signed by the required number of qualified voters residing in the several districts; that all the proceedings leading up to the election were regular; that a vote was taken in each district April 3, 1917, and in each district the proposition carried.

After that election, no schools were held in former school districts Nos. 44 and 45, and

284 S.W. 137

the children of those districts attended the Lathrop school. The schoolhouses in Nos. 44 and 45 were sold, and the school taxes on the land in those districts were levied and collected by the school district of Lathrop.

I. Section 11123 in chapter 102, Revised Statutes 1919, classifies schools as follows:

"First, all districts having only three directors shall be known as common school districts; second, all districts outside of incorporated cities, towns and villages, which are governed by six directors, shall be known as consolidated school districts; third, all districts governed by six directors and in which is located any city of the fourth class, or any incorporated town or village, shall be known as town school districts."

The fourth relates to districts located in cities of the first, second, and third classes.

School districts Nos. 44 and 45 belonged to the first class, common school districts. The school district of Lathrop belongs to the third class, being an incorporated town, and having six directors. The statute relating to the proceeding undertaken is section 11201, which begins with these provisions:

"When it is deemed necessary to form a new district, to be composed of two or more entire districts, or parts of two or more districts, to divide one district to form two new districts from the territory therein, to divide one district and attach the territory thereof to adjoining districts, or to change the "boundary lines of two or more districts."

The proceeding to accomplish any of those results is marked out in that section, which is in article 3, chapter 102, relating to common schools. It would apply to districts Nos. 44 and 45, but not to the Lathrop school district. However, section 11253 in the same article provides that all the provisions of section 11201 relating to the changes of boundary lines of common school districts shall apply to town, city, and consolidated districts. Thus a town school district may change its boundary lines in the same manner and according to the same procedure as common school districts.

Relators, however, contend that a proceeding to change boundary lines does not authorize the consolidation of two or more districts; that the law relating to the consolidation of school districts does not authorize the consolidation of country districts with a town district having more than two hundred children of school age. That question was before this court in case of State ex rel. v. Scott (Mo. Sup.) 270 S. W. 382, where, in effect, it was held that under the language of section 11201 a change of boundary line between districts could not be construed so as to authorize absorption of one district by another.

Section 11252, in the article relating to common schools, provides a method by which common school districts, adjoining a city or a town, may be attached for school purposes to the city or town district. This was pointed out by the court in the Scott Case, but that proceeding was not pursued in this instance.

So we have the people of the three districts attempting to accomplish a result which the law authorized, but they attempted to accomplish it in a manner which the law did not authorize. It is only on the initiative of the school district joining the town that they may be absorbed by the town district under section 11252. If there was nothing more in the case than a question regarding the regularity of this proceeding, we would have to grant the writ of ouster.

II. The respondents, however, assert that the relators had been guilty of such inches as to require this court, in justice, to deny their right to disturb the status quo. At the election in April, 1917, the vote was emphatic in favor of the change. In District No. 45 it was 21 to 8, in district No. 44, 18 to 14, and in the Lathrop district, 191 to 8, indicating that the people of those districts, who voted on the proposition submitted, understood what they wanted and voted for it. The only trouble about it was they did not pursue the method provided by statute to obtain what they wanted. There are some suggestions in the relators' argument that the people of those districts were misled or overpersuaded, but there is no evidence of that.

In district No. 45 there had been no school, at that time, for four years. At the annual election in April, 1914, the electors of that district elected' a director, and voted five to four in favor of having no school. At the annual election in April, 1915, they elected a director and by a majority vote to have no school. At the annual meeting in 1916 the same proceeding occurred, and at the annual election in April, 1917, besides the proposition to extend the boundaries of Lathrop district so as to include No. 45, the voters present voted 13 to 8 for sending the children to school in town. During those years, from 1914 to the time the extension of boundaries was voted, the children of No. 45 went to the school in the Lathrop district. In, each district, Nos. 44 and 45, after the vote in 1917, there was no school. The schoolhouses were sold, and the land upon which they stood reverted to the original owners. All the taxes collected in each of those districts were collected for the district of Lathrop and appropriated to the maintenance of the school district of Lathrop. After 1917 the school district of Lathrop maintained a school of eight grades, with an accredited high school of four years, employed twelve teachers, and the high school was conducted for the benefit of all the children in all of said former districts. The additional attendance from the country districts, caused by the change,...

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13 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. Huffman v. Show-Me Power Co-Op., No. 38883.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 14, 1946
    ...22 S.W. 888; State on inf. Bates v. City of Carterville, 183 S.W. 1093; State ex inf. Otto v. School District of Lathrop, 314 Mo. 315, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. Worsham v. Ellis, 329 Mo. 124, 44 S.W. (2d) 129; State ex rel. Crane v. Baker, 104 S.W. (2d) 726; State ex rel. McAllister v. Cu......
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...(2d) 394, 331 Mo. 337; State ex rel. McAllister v. Cupples Station L., H. & P. Co., 283 Mo. 115; State ex inf. v. School District, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. v. Town of Mansfield, 99 Mo. App. 146; State ex rel. Letchner v. Dearing, 253 Mo. 605; People v. City of Le Roy, 293 Ill. 278, 1......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...involved in the present proceedings. (a) The relator is barred by laches from maintaining this action. State ex inf. Otto v. School Dist., 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. v. Town of Westport, 116 Mo. 582; State ex rel. v. Town of Mansfield, 99 Mo. App. 146. (b) The State is barred by laches or ......
  • Graves v. Little Tarkio Drain. Dist., No. 36734.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 13, 1939
    ...and a half years prevented the remedy sought. [See also State ex inf. Otto ex rel. Harrington v. School District, 314 Mo. 315, 328-332, 284 S.W. 135, 139-140; State ex inf. Shartel ex rel. City of Sikeston v. Missouri Utilities Co., 331 Mo. Mo. 337, 53 S.W. (2d) 394; City of Mountain View v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • State ex Inf. Huffman v. Show-Me Power Co-Op., No. 38883.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • January 14, 1946
    ...22 S.W. 888; State on inf. Bates v. City of Carterville, 183 S.W. 1093; State ex inf. Otto v. School District of Lathrop, 314 Mo. 315, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. Worsham v. Ellis, 329 Mo. 124, 44 S.W. (2d) 129; State ex rel. Crane v. Baker, 104 S.W. (2d) 726; State ex rel. McAllister v. Cu......
  • State ex Inf. McKittrick v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 34073.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 8, 1936
    ...53 S.W. (2d) 394, 331 Mo. 337; State ex rel. McAllister v. Cupples Station L., H. & P. Co., 283 Mo. 115; State ex inf. v. School District, 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. v. Town of Mansfield, 99 Mo. App. 146; State ex rel. Letchner v. Dearing, 253 Mo. 605; People v. City of Le Roy, 293 Ill. 27......
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...involved in the present proceedings. (a) The relator is barred by laches from maintaining this action. State ex inf. Otto v. School Dist., 284 S.W. 135; State ex rel. v. Town of Westport, 116 Mo. 582; State ex rel. v. Town of Mansfield, 99 Mo. App. 146. (b) The State is barred by laches or ......
  • State ex rel., Arthur v. Hammett, No. 19436.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 5, 1941
    ...of laches and cannot maintain this proceeding. People v. Miller, (Ill.), 163 N.E. 139; State v. School District of Lathrop, 314 Mo. 315, 284 S.W. 135; Stamper v. Roberts, 90 Mo. 683, 3 S.W. 214; Kircher v. Evers, et al. (Mo. App.), 247 S.W. 251; State v. Miller, 113 Mo. App. 665, 88 S.W. 63......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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