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AGO 1952 No. 351 - July 11, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


A school district may expend its fund in conjunction with a city to acquire land and facilities for playground purposes and the school district may hold such property jointly with a city.

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                                                                    July 11, 1952

Honorable Ronald R. Hull
Prosecuting Attorney
Yakima County
Yakima, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 351

Attention:  Mr. Lon Boyle, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter advising that a project is being urged in Yakima to acquire land and construct recreational facilities to be financed jointly by Yakima School District No. 7, a first class district, and the city of Yakima, also first class, under authority of chapter 97, Laws of 1949.  You then request an opinion of this office on the following questions:

            1. Would a school district have authority under chapter 97, Laws of 1949, relating to playgrounds and parks, to expend school funds for recreational facilities in a joint venture with a city?

            2. If, in your opinion, it would be legal for such expenditures under (1) above, could the title to the facilities be held in joint ownership by the two municipalities, or would the title have to be retained by the Yakima School District?

            Our conclusions may be stated as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            1. A school district has authority to expend school funds for recreational facilities in a joint venture with the city.

            2. A school district can hold title jointly with a city in playground and park facilities.


            Chapter 97, Laws of 1949, amended section 1, chapter 107, Laws of 1921 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 9319; RCW 76.20.010) to expressly provide for school districts joining with certain other types of municipalities, including cities, for the joint acquisition and operation of parks and playgrounds.  Section 1 of the act in its amended form reads as follows:

            "Any city in this state acting through its City Council, or its Board of Park Commissioners when authorized by charter or ordinance, any separately organized park district acting through its Board of Park Commissioners or other governing officers, any school district acting through its Board of School Directors, any county acting through its Board of County Commissioners, and any town acting through its City Council shall have power, acting independently or in conjunction with the United States, the State of Washington, any county, city, park district, school district or town or any number of such public organizations to acquire any land within this state for park, playground, gymnasiums, swimming pools, field houses and other recreational facilities, bathing beach or public camp purposes and roads leading from said parks, playgrounds, gymnasiums, swimming pools, field houses and other recreational facilities, bathing beaches, or public camps to nearby highways by donation, purchase or condemnation, and to build, construct, care for, control, supervise, improve, operate and maintain parks, playgrounds, gymnasiums, swimming pools, field houses and other recreational facilities, bathing beaches, roads and public camps upon any such land, including the power to enact and enforce such police regulations not inconsistent with the  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] constitution and laws of the State of Washington, as are deemed necessary for the government and control of the same.  The power of eminent domain herein granted shall not extend to any land outside the territorial limits of the governmental unit or units exercising said power."

            It will be noted that this act specifically authorizes any school district, acting through its board of school directors jointly to acquire any land within this state for park and playground purposes with the city.  It is our opinion that this language is specific authority for the expenditure of school district funds for this purpose.  The statute further authorizes a school district in conjunction with a city, to operate and control the property acquired.

            We believe that it is inherent in the right to acquire that one may take title to property.  We can see no other interpretation to give to this statute than that the legislature has authorized a school district, together with a city, to obtain, hold and operate the property for the purposes enumerated.  Since a school district is authorized to acquire the property jointly with a city, it is our opinion that it is authorized by this section of the statute to hold the title jointly with a city.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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