Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGO 1952 No. 210 - January 14, 1952
AGO Opinion Header Image
Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

ANNEXATION OF SCHOOL PROPERTY TO TOWN -- DEDICATION OF SCHOOL PROPERTY FOR STREET PURPOSES -- ADMISSION TAX FOR HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC CONTESTS.

1. Approval of the voters is not required to authorize the board of directors of a school district to sign a petition for the annexation of school property to a town.

2. The board of directors of a school district may not sell or dedicate property without prior approval of the voters and may not give away property without consideration even with the approval of the voters.

3. The admission tax levied by the county and not the admission tax levied by the city must be collected where the event to which admission is granted is held within the county but without the city.

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

                                                                 January 14, 1952

Honorable Mitchell Doumit
Prosecuting Attorney
Wahkiakum County
Cathlamet, Washington                                                                                         Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 210

Dear Sir:

            We summarized the three questions asked in your letter of December 12th as follows:

            1. May the board of directors of a school district petition for the annexation to the town of school property situated without the limits of the town without approval of the voters?

            2. Can the board of directors of a school district dedicate school land for street purposes without approval of the voters?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            3. Where the county and the city have each levied admission taxes, what tax must be collected by a school district situated principally within a town but holding contests for which admission is charged outside of the town where tickets are sold both within and without the town?

            You are advised:

            1. Approval of the voters is not required to authorize the board of directors of a school district to sign a petition for the annexation of school property to a town.

            2. The board of directors of a school district may not sell or dedicate property without prior approval of the voters and may not give away property without consideration even with the approval of the voters.

            3. The admission tax levied by the county and not the admission tax levied by the city must be collected where the event to which admission is granted is held within the county but without the city.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The board of directors of a school district has only such powers as are conferred upon it by statute or included within powers conferred upon it by a statute.

            Under the general powers and duties of the board of directors, § 4776 Rem. Rev. Stat., is included the power to take proper steps to administer school property for the best interests of the school district, which includes the right to petition a town for the annexation of school property situated without the town without prior approval of the voters.

            The directors may sell property of the district only when directed to do so by vote of the district (§ 4782 Rem. Rev. Stat.), which may be obtained at a special meeting provided for by § 5028 Rem. Rev. Stat.

            However, the giving away of property is not authorized by statute or included in any powers granted by statute.

            On November 2, 1911, we advised the Honorable Henry B. Dewey, Superintendent of Public Instruction, that the directors "might be authorized by a vote of the electors of the district to sell an easement over a portion of the school grounds to be used for highway purposes for such consideration as is deemed sufficient by the electors."  Ops. Atty. Gen. 1911-12, page 160.  We attach copy of our  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] opinion of September 3, 1924, to the Honorable C. T. Roscoe, Prosecuting Attorney of Snohomish County, in which we outline the authority of the board of directors to make an agreement for an easement, but in which we point out even this would require an "antecedent vote of the electors."

            The electors would, of course, be authorized to represent the district in condemnation or other legal proceedings whereby the court would be asked to subject school property to street purposes and fix proper compensation without an election.

            As to your third question, the tax levied by the county (chapter 34, Laws of 1951) and the tax levied by the city (chapter 35, Laws of 1951) are admission taxes; not on the privilege of holding an exhibition or of selling tickets to an exhibition.  Admission being to a place without the city and within the county, the county tax is valid, the city tax is not, and the school district must collect the county tax and not the city tax, notwithstanding the fact that the athletic event is authorized within the city and tickets sold within the city.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

E. P. DONNELLY
Assistant Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo