SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- CONSOLIDATION ‑- ELECTION
To validate a proposed consolidation of whole existing school districts with part of an existing district, an election is required to obtain majority vote of the electors of each whole district separately and a majority vote of the electors of the part district residing within the proposed new district.
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January 17, 1955
Honorable Dale McMullen
State Senator, 17th District
Vancouver, Washington Cite as: AGO 55-57 No. 9
In your letter of December 17, 1954, you requested our opinion regarding the consolidation of school districts under chapter 266, Laws of 1947. The precise issue presented by your inquiry is what procedure must be followed in voting upon a proposed consolidation of existing school districts where the consolidation includes a part of another school district.
In our opinion an election must be held to secure (1) a majority vote of the qualified voters in the whole existing school districts to be included in the consolidation and, (2) a majority vote of those voters in the part of an existing school district within the limits of the proposed consolidated district.
A petition was submitted to the county committee on school district organization seeking the creation of a new district to comprise two whole districts and a part of another district in conformance with the provisions of chapter 266, Laws of 1947. Section 4 of that act authorizes the consolidation of districts and parts of districts. The question presented relates to the procedure to be followed in conducting an election in the part of the district intended to be included in the consolidation.
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
RCW 28.57.070 (§ 1, chapter 87, Laws of 1951) requires that a special election of the voters residing within the territory of the proposed new district be held to approve or reject the proposed consolidation.
RCW 28.57.090 (§ 21, chapter 266, Laws of 1947) provides, in part, as follows:
"Whenever a special election is held, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, to vote on the formation of a proposed new school district, the votes cast by the voters in each component district shall be tabulated separately and the proposition shall be considered approved only if it receives a majority of the votes cast in each separate district voting thereon. * * *"
A recent opinion of this office, AGO 51-53 No. 359 [[to Pearl A. Wanamaker, State Superintendent of Public Instruction on August 1, 1952]], held that under these provisions, only the voters residing within the territory of the proposed new district are entitled to vote to establish a new consolidated school district. The opinion citedState ex rel. Winters v. Steele, 37 Wn. (2d) 434 441, 224 P. (2d) 332, which by dictum referred to the statute as follows:
"* * * If the county committee approves a proposal concerning the formation of a new school district, a special election of the voters residing within the territory of the proposed new district is held for the purpose of affording the voters an opportunity to approve or reject such proposal. * * *"
Therefore, in order that we may give effect to the intention of the legislature in allowing parts of districts to be included in the consolidation with whole districts, it is our opinion that:
(1) A majority vote of all the qualified voters within each whole existing district consolidated, and
[[Orig. Op. Page 3]]
(2) a majority vote of the qualified voters living within the part of a district to be included in the consolidation, will be necessary to validate the proposed consolidation.
Very truly yours,
EDWARD M. LANE
Assistant Attorney General