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AGO 1950 No. 254 - April 11, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOL DIRECTOR MOVING FROM ONE DIRECTOR'S DISTRICT TO ANOTHER DIRECTOR'S DISTRICT WITHIN THE SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT

Change of residence during his term by a school director of a second class district from one director's district to another director's district within the school district does not create a vacancy on the school board.

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                                                                   April 11, 1950

Honorable Marshall A. Neill
Representative, Ninth District
House of Representatives
First National Bank Building
Pullman, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 254

Dear Sir:

            We are in receipt of your letter of February 20, 1950, wherein you have asked the following question:

            "Does a vacancy exist on the school board of a second class district which is divided into Director Districts, when a director moves his residence from one Director District to another Director District?"

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            Change of residence during his term by a school director of a second class district from one director's district to another director's district within the school district does not create a vacancy on the school board.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 3063, Code of 1881 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 9950), provides:

            "Every office shall become vacant on the happening of either of the following events before the expiration of the term of such officer:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "* * *

            "4. His ceasing to be an inhabitant of the district, county, town, or village for which he shall have been elected or appointed, or within which the duties of his office are to be discharged;"

            In an opinion addressed to the Prosecuting Attorney of Skagit County, dated February 28, 1923, construing the law above quoted, this office has ruled that where a school director is elected from a territorial subdivision (director's district) within the school district but nevertheless the office is voted upon by the district at large, the officer so elected represents and exercises jurisdiction over the entire school district, and that so long as the director does not remove himself from the entire school district, his office is not vacated by his moving from the director's district wherein he was elected to another director's district within the same school district.  A like conclusion was reached in an opinion dated July 10, 1940, addressed to the Prosecuting Attorney of Spokane County, concerning the removal of a county commissioner to another commissioner district situated within the same county.

            We find a similar expression in an opinion dated March 1, 1911, addressed to the Prosecuting Attorney of Snohomish County (Ops. Atty. Gen. 1911-12, p. 8), wherein appears the following language:

            "This section [Rem. Rev. Stat. 9950] clearly provides that if an officer ceases to be an inhabitant of the district, county, town or village for which he shall have been elected or appointed, or within which the duties of his office are to be discharged, that his office becomes vacant.  The only question then arises, is the county commissioner a county officer, or is he simply an officer of his commissioner district?  It seems to me from the provisions above quoted that he must be held to be a county officer, and that his office is not vacant so long as the incumbent is performing the duties of his office and residing within the county.  It is therefore my opinion that a county commissioner does not vacate his office by removing from the district in which he was elected to another commissioner district in his county."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We are not unmindful of the fact that in providing for the election or appointment of directors for new or altered director's districts, the act (chapter 266, Laws of 1947) provides that no two school directors shall be residents of the same school director's district; see in this connection sections 24, 34 and 35.  Such sections, however, do not relate to the question of vacancies in office, and in relation to that question Rem. Rev. Stat. 9950 is controlling.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

RICHARD OTIS WHITE
Assistant Attorney General

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