Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1954 No. 214 - February 24, 1954
AGO Opinion Header Image
Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOLS ‑- SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH SCHOOL ‑- CONTRIBUTIONS BY NON-HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

Non-High school districts may not make capital contributions for the construction of high school buildings located in another non-high school district.

                                                                   - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                February 24, 1954

Honorable Hewitt Henry
Prosecuting Attorney
Thurston County
Olympia, Washington                                                                                   Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 214

Dear Sir:

            In response to your letter of February 9, 1954, we advise that non-high school districts may not make capital contributions toward the construction of a high school building located in another non-high school district.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            North Thurston, Nisqually, and Boston Harbor are non-high school districts located adjacent to one another in the northern portion of Thurston County.  Olympia is a high school district also located nearby.  The Olympia High School District contemplates the building of a new high school and wishes to take advantage of the provisions of chapter 229, Laws of 1953.  It has notified the various non-high school districts of Thurston County of its plan and has asked whether they wish to participate in the construction of this new high school pursuant to chapter 229.

            The North Thurston School District prefers to build its own high school and has approved a bond issue and special levy for that purpose.  Nisqually and Boston Harbor, being unable to construct schools in their own districts, prefer to join with North Thurston and to contribute to the construction of the new high school in that district, also under the provisions of chapter 229, Laws of 1953.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            The situation presents the following question: Does chapter 229, Laws of 1953, authorize non-high school districts to make capital contributions to the construction of a high school to be located in another non-high school district?

            Section 4 of this act (RCW 28.56.040 1953 Supp.) vests the ultimate authority for the approval or rejection of any such plan in the state board of education, of which the state superintendent of public instruction is president and the deputy superintendent is secretary.  The plan itself is to be drawn up by the county committee on school district organization.  (Section 1, RCW 28.56.010 1953 Supp.).  But the plan may only be prepared

            "Upon receipt [by the committee] of a written request from the board of directors of a high school or union high school district which educates high school students residing in non-high school districts, * * *"  (Sec. 1) (Emphasis supplied)

            The statute expressly states that the first step in any proceeding under this law is based upon the written request of the board of directors of certainhigh school orunion high school districts.  The legislature has pointedly omitted non-high school districts and we see no way in which they may now be included.  The application of the entire act is dependent upon this first step set forth in sec. 1.  The language of that section is clear and must be followed literally.

            We are requested to consider particularly the following language of section 2:

            "The said county committee shall give consideration to:

            "* * *

            "(2) The exclusion from the plan of non-high school districts because of remoteness or isolation or because they are so situated with respect to location, present and/or clearly foreseeable future population, and other pertinent factors as to warrant the establishment of a high school thereinor the inclusion of their territory in some other non-high school district within which the establishment of a high school is warranted;" (Emphasis supplied)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            The language of this section is directed to the county committee, and requires it to consider theexclusion of a non-high school district from any plan under consideration because of its location.  One of the reasons such a district may be excluded is because the location may warrant "the inclusion of * * * [its] territory in some other non-high school district within which the establishment of a high school is warranted."  Notwithstanding the fact that convenient location to another non-high school district may exclude a district from one plan, the law does not vest it with authority to contribute to the building of a high school in the other non-high school district.

            The literal application of this statute, particularly the provision above quoted, might produce unfortunate effects in some cases.  It is difficult to believe that the legislature intended any such result.  Yet the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous.  This office has no authority to bestow upon it any meaning except that which is clearly expressed.

            You are advised that, in our opinion, non-high school districts may not contribute to the construction of high school buildings in other non-high school districts under chapter 229, Laws of 1953 (RCW 1953 Supp. Chapter 28.56).

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

RALPH M. DAVIS
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo