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AGO 1952 No. 430 - December 08, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- SPECIAL MEETING AS COMPLYING WITH REQUIREMENT OF AN "ELECTION."

The sale of property of a school district of the first class, which has a value in excess of $2,000.00, must be authorized by the voters of the district at a general election or at a special election called for that purpose.  A special "meeting" called pursuant to the provisions of RCW 28.58.370 does not meet the requirements of an "election" as prescribed by RCW 28.62.190.

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                                                                December 8, 1952

Honorable Don G. Abel
Prosecuting Attorney
Grays Harbor County
Aberdeen, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 430

 Dear Sir:

             We have for acknowledgement your letter of November 18, 1952, in which you state that:

             "Aberdeen's School District No. 5, a first-class school district, has acquired several residential buildings which are not necessary to the operation of the school district and which the Board of Directors desires to sell; the value of each unit of this property is more than $2,000.00."

             You further advise that the board of directors of the school district contemplates calling a special meeting of the voters of the district pursuant to the provisions of RCW 28.58.370.

             You ask our opinion as follows:

             "* * * If that special meeting of the voters of the district determines that the district shall sell the said real property, will it then be necessary to comply with the provisions of RCW 28.62.190 respecting the requirement of an election to determine the propriety of making the sale?"  (Emphasis supplied)

             It is our conclusion that the sale of property of a school district of the first class, which has a value in excess of $2,000.00, must be authorized by the voters of the district at a general election or at a special election called for that purpose.  A special "meeting" called pursuant to the provisions of RCW 28.58.370 does not meet the requirements of an "election" as prescribed by RCW 28.62.190.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             Special meetings of the voters of school districts of all classes are authorized, under RCW 28.58.370 for the purposes of determining:

             "* * * (5) Whether or not the district shall sell any real or personal property belonging to the district * * *."

             However, under RCW 28.62.190, relating to school districts of the first class, the question of the sale of property of such a district when the value thereof exceeds $2,000.00 must be submitted to the voters of the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] district "either at a generalelection or at a specialelection called for that purpose."  It would therefore appear that the general authority given all districts under RCW 28.58.370 to determine the question at a special meeting has been expressly modified where property of a first class district having a value of more than $2,000.00 is involved.  The legislature has directed that in such instances the matter shall be determined by an "election," either general or special.

             In an earlier opinion issued by the attorney general to the office of the governor under date of July 19, 1921, it was held that the special "meeting" provided for in § 4664, Rem. & Bal. Code (now codified as RCW 28.58.370 and which was substantially the same as § 2442, Bal. Code) was not an election.  That opinion, a copy of which is enclosed herewith, was based upon the case ofRegan v. School District No. 25, 44 Wash. 523; 87 Pac. 828.  In theRegan case our supreme court held that themeeting provided for in § 2442, Bal. Code, was not an election.  We are therefore of the opinion that the special "meeting" prescribed and authorized by RCW 28.58.370 is not an "election" within the meaning of RCW 28.62.190.  Authority to sell the property of Aberdeen School District No. 5, a first class district, must be given by the voters of the district at a general election or a special election called for that purpose pursuant to RCW 28.62.190 inasmuch as the value of such property is in excess of $2,000.00.

 Very truly yours,
SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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