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AGO 1950 No. 349 - September 28, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOLS ‑- TEACHERS ‑- APPEALS ‑- TRANSCRIPTS ‑- RESPONSIBILITY OF PAYMENTS

The expense of the transcript prepared by county superintendent of schools where school teacher took an appeal from a local school district and where the county superintendent and state superintendent each decided in favor of teacher, must be borne by the office of the county superintendent.

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                                                              September 28, 1950

Honorable Joe L. Johnson
Prosecuting Attorney, Cowlitz County
Court House
Kelso, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 349

Attention:  !ttMr. Stewart Elliott,
            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of September 21, 1950, in which you ask the following question:

            Where a teacher employed by a local school district appealed a decision of its Board of Directors not to renew her contract to the County Superintendent of Schools and the Superintendent decided in her favor, and the Board then appealed to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who also decided in favor of the teacher, and the County Superintendent incurred expenses in connection with preparing a transcript, must the expense of such transcript be borne by the County Superintendent's office, or may the same be properly assessed to the district?

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            The expense of the transcript must be borne by the office of the County Superintendent of Schools, and cannot be charged against the school district.  If  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] necessary, the Board of County Commissioners may make an emergency appropriation to increase the budget of the County Superintendent of Schools.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Your letter reads as follows:

            "Earlier this year a teacher formerly employed by the Kelso Schools appealed a decision of its Board of Directors not to renew her contract, to the County Superintendent of Schools.  The County Superintendent in hearing the appeal employed the services of a court reporter.  The decision of the Superintendent was in favor of the teacher and the Board was ordered to issue a contract to her.  The Board then appealed to the Superintendent of Public Instruction whose decision also was in favor of the teacher and against the Board.

            "In preparing a transcript of the hearing the County Superintendent had the full transcript made, the cost of which was approximately $400.

            "The County Superintendent has now inquired as to whether or not this expense must properly be borne by her office or whether the cost of preparing the transcript and the testimony may properly be passed on to the losing party, to-wit:  the Kelso School District."

            On August 4, 1921, the then Attorney General issued an opinion to the then Superintendent of Public Instruction, construing what was then known as section 4708 Rem. 1915 Code, section 3, chapter 97, Laws of 1909, p. 363.  The section was amended by section 1, chapter 102, Laws of 1927, and became section 5067 Rem. Rev. Stat.  Such amendment was immaterial to any matter now under consideration.  The exact question which the then Attorney General answered was the following:

            "Does the responsibility for perfecting the record devolve upon the county superintendent or upon the appellant?"

            After referring to the applicable statute, the opinion says:

            "This section is mandatory upon the county superintendent of schools.  The law makes no provision for the payment of the expenses of making such  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] transcript, and hence it must be borne as a part of the expenses of the county superintendent's office, and the responsibility for perfecting the record devolves, under the section above quoted, upon such superintendent."

            We know of no Supreme Court decision directly passing upon this question.  We cannot disregard an opinion of this office of such long standing.  We must, therefore, hold that the cost of preparing the transcript must be borne by the County Superintendent's office.

            The office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has advised us that on several occasions where comparable questions have arisen in the various counties that they have advised the County Superintendent of Schools to the effect that if sufficient money has not been budgeted in a particular period, that the County Superintendent of Schools would be perfectly justified in applying for an emergency appropriation from the county commissioners, and that the county commissioners would be justified in allowing such an emergency.  We subscribe to such view, if the same is necessary in your particular case.

Respectfully submitted,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

GEORGE DOWNER
Assistant Attorney General

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