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AGO 1951 No. 022 - April 23, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- TAX LEVIES.

Section 1, chapter 255, Laws of 1951 has no effect upon section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1947 and section 37 remains in full force and effect.

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                                                                   April 23, 1951

Honorable Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County Court House
Spokane 11, Washington                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 22

Dear Sir:

            We have received your letter of April 10, 1951, in which you ask the following question:

            What effect does the passage of section 1, chapter 255, Laws of 1951, which authorized an increase in the permitted tax levy for school districts from ten mills to twelve mills, have upon section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1947, which limits the levy for union high school districts to four mills and limits the levy for component districts within the high school district to six mills?

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            Section 1, chapter 255, Laws of 1951, has no effect upon section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1947, and section 37 remains in full force and effect.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 1, chapter 176, Laws of 1941 (11238-1e, Rem. Supp. 1941) insofar as material herein, provides:

            "* * * the levy by any county shall not exceed ten (10) mills including any levy for the county school fund required by law, the levy by or for any school district shall not exceed ten (10) mills, * * *."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            This law was amended by section 1, chapter 253, Laws of 1945, but the above wording was left unchanged.  The law was again amended by section 1, chapter 11, Laws of 1950, Extraordinary Session, but the above language was still unchanged.  The law was again amended by section 1, chapter 255, Laws of 1951 (84.52.050, RCW [[RCW 84.52.050]]) and the above language was changed to read:

            "* * * the levy by any county shall not exceed ten mills; the levy by or for any school district shall not exceed twelve mills; * * *."

            It should be noted that the specific language as to the levy for school districts has not been changed since the original enactment in 1941 with the exception that ten mills has been increased to twelve mills.

            Section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1947 (4693-56, Rem. Supp. 1947; 28.57.320, RCW [[RCW 28.57.320]]) reads as follows:

            "The tax levy for the General Fund of any union high school district shall not be in excess of four mills for any one school year nor shall the General Fund levy for any component district within a union high school district be in excess of six mills for any one school year, unless a levy in excess thereof is authorized by the electors of the union high school district or of the component district in conformity with the requirements of law."

            When we consider that at the time chapter 266, supra was enacted in 1947 that the maximum levy permitted for "any school district" was ten mills, we can readily see what was meant by section 37.  The levy for any union high school district was limited to four mills, and levy for any component district within the union high school district was limited to six mills, thereby making a total permissible levy of ten mills, which was the maximum then permitted by law.  More than such maximum might be authorized by the electors as required by law.

            Section 1, chapter 255, Laws of 1951, supra made no specific mention of section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1941,supra nor is the subject matter of section 37 touched upon at all.  Nor, to the best of our knowledge, was any amendment made as to section 37, supra by any other law passed at the 1951 session.  It would therefore seem that chapter 255, supra has application  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] as to all school districts except such as may properly be classed as union high school districts composed of more than one component district therein.  As to all instances where there is a union high school district with component districts therein, it would seem that the limitations of section 37, chapter 266, Laws of 1947, still govern and control.  We know of no rule of construction which can be cited as authority to justify any other conclusion.  We would have no right to apportion the two mills additional allowed by chapter 255,supra (that is, the difference between the ten mills allowed by former laws and the twelve mills allowed by chapter 255) as between the union high school district and the component districts therein.  Nor would we have any right to allow such two mills additional to either the union high school district or to the component districts therein.

            The various districts affected can still hold an election as provided by chapter 255,supra to authorize an increased levy as provided therein.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

GEORGE DOWNER
Assistant Attorney General

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