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AGO 1954 No. 266 - June 03, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

SALE OF REAL PROPERTY BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT NO LONGER NEEDED AS SUCH.

A school district may sell real property no longer needed for school purposes by vote of electorate if value is more than $20,000.00; if less than $20,000.00, it must be sold for 90% of appraised value as determined by three real estate brokers.

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                                                                    June 3, 1954

Honorable John C. Merkel
Prosecuting Attorney
Kitsap County
307 Dietz Building
Bremerton, Washington                                                                                               Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 266

Dear Mr. Merkel:

            We have your letter of May 24, 1954, requesting the opinion of this office as to two specific problems respecting School District No. 100-C.  The facts detailed by you are that the school district acquired a parcel of real property by negotiation and purchase, and after utilizing so much thereof as necessary for school purposes, have remaining an approximate 700' x 140' which has been determined by the school board as non-essential for future use of the district.  At a recent election the voters of the district approved sale of the property by the board of directors.  The property has a total appraised value of less than $20,000.00.

            Your inquiry now is:  (1) May the district divide this property into ten lots, 70' x 140' each, or must the property be sold as a single parcel?  (2) May the district sell a portion of land on the school site while the remaining portion of the land continues to be used for school purposes?

            It is our opinion that each of the questions are to be answered in the affirmative.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The applicable provisions of the statutes are to be found in chapter 225, Laws of 1953 (RCW 28.58.045) and set forth as follows:

            "Section 1.  The board of directors of any school district of this state may:

            "(1) Sell for cash, at public or private sale, and convey by deed all interest of the district in or to any of the real property of the district which is no longer required for school purposes if the value thereof is twenty thousand dollars or less; and

            "(2) Purchase real property for the purpose of locating thereon and affixing thereto any house or houses and appurtenant buildings removed from school sites owned by the district and sell for cash, at public or private sale, and convey by deed all interest of the district in or to such acquired and improved real property if the value of any single parcel thereof is twenty thousand dollars or less; and is at least equal in funds received to ninety percent of the relocated value thereof:  Provided, however, That prior to selling any of such real property of the district the board of directors shall appoint three licensed real estate brokers who shall appraise the real property to be sold, and such real property shall not be sold for less than ninety percent of the appraised value thereof.

            "If the value of any such parcel of real property is found by the board of directors to be greater than twenty thousand dollars, the question of the sale thereof shall be submitted to a vote of the voters of the district, either at a general or special election called for that purpose.  If a majority of the votes cast thereat favor the sale of such real property the board may make the sale.  The sale must be made at  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] public auction for cash and good title shall be conveyed by deed of the school district, executed by the president or the vice president and the secretary or clerk of the board.  * * *"

            Section 2 of chapter 225, Laws of 1953, provides for the repeal of RCW 28.58.040, 28.62.190 and 28.63.180 to the extent that the same are inconsistent with the above quoted provisions.  We find these provisions inconsistent with section 1, chapter 225, Laws of 1953, respecting the sale of real property by a school district and conclude that RCW 28.58.045 provides the only method for transferring title of real property by a school district.

            In interpreting RCW 28.58.045 we are of the opinion that there are two methods for conveying real property belonging to a school district.  The first is that a board of directors of any school district may sell for cash, at public or private sale, any real property of the district no longer required for school purposes if the value thereof is $20,000.00 or less; provided, the real property is not sold for less than ninety percent of the appraised value thereof as determined by three licensed real estate brokers.

            The second provision is that a board of directors of any school district may sell at public auction for cash real property of the value of $20,000.00 or more; provided a majority of the voters of the district at a general or special election favor the sale of such real property.

            We note that with respect to each of the two methods as delineated the permissive word "may" is used; therefore, we conclude, that even though a sale is authorized by a vote of the electorate the board may decline to sell the property.

            In the case of School District No. 100-C, it appears that since the appraised value of the property was less than $20,000.00 it was not necessary to submit the proposition to the voters of the district.  We are of the opinion that the district may divide the property into any number of lots or parcels and may, in their discretion, sell any portion of the real property deemed advisable by the district.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            We hope that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

DONALD E. WATSON
Assistant Attorney General

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