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AGLO 1975 No. 57 - June 05, 1975
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington


A discussion of circumstances under which a school district warrant is to be registered so as to draw interest because of insufficient money in the fund upon which the warrant was drawn.

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                                                                    June 5, 1975

Honorable Robert F. Patrick
Prosecuting Attorney
Whitman County
P.O. Box 30
Colfax, Washington 99111                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1975 No. 57

Dear Sir:

            This is written in response to your recent letter inquiring as to the date that interest starts to accrue on registered school district warrants.

            Our answer is as set forth in the following analysis.


            As you have pointed out, RCW 28A.66.010 provides that:

            "The county auditor shall register in his own office, and present to the treasurer for registration in the office of the county treasurer, all warrants of first class districts, and all warrants of second and third class districts electing to draw and issue their own warrants under RCW 28A.60.328, received from school district superintendents or district secretaries before delivery of the same to claimants."

            The county treasurer's duties upon receiving such warrants from the auditor are, in turn, spelled out in RCW 28A.48.100.  This statute, which designated the county treasurer of each county as ex officio treasurer of the several school districts of the county, provides, inter alia, that:

            "(4) He shall register all school warrants presented to him by the county auditor in a book to be known as the 'Treasurer's School District Warrant Register,' which register shall show the date issued, number of warrant, to whom issued, amount and purpose, date registered, date advertised, interest if any accruing on said warrant, total as redeemed, date redeemed and to whom paid.  If the district has money in the fund on which the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] warrant is drawn no endorsement on the warrant is necessary, but if there be no money to the credit of the fund on which the warrant is registered he shall endorse on said warrant the following:  'This warrant bears interest at       percent per annum from            until called for payment.                County Treasurer, By               Deputy.'  All warrants shall be paid in the order of their presentation to the county treasurer; and it is hereby made the duty of the county treasurer to advertise, at least quarterly, all warrants which he is prepared to pay, in the same manner in which he is required to advertise county warrants, and after the date fixed in said notice, warrants shall cease to draw interest."

            The third and final statute bearing on your question is RCW 36.29.040.  This statute, which includes but is not limited to school district warrants, provides as follows:

            "All county, school, city and town warrants, and taxing district warrants when not otherwise provided for by law, shall be paid according to their number, date and issue, and when not paid upon presentation shall draw interest from and after their presentation to the proper treasurers.  No compound interest shall be paid directly or indirectly on any such warrants."

            Reading these statutes together it is our opinion that the "presentation" which causes interest to begin accruing on school district warrants is dependent upon the status of the fund on which the warrant is issued at the time of its issuance.  If there is insufficient money in the fund when the warrant is issued, the warrant is then an interest-bearing warrant from the time it is first "presented" by the county auditor to the county treasurer and registered under RCW 28A.48.100(4),supra.  However, if there is sufficient money in the fund when the warrant is issued, the term "presentation" referred to in RCW 36.29.040, supra, is that which is made by the payee or  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] holder of the warrant seeking to have it paid by the county treasurer and not that of the county auditor "presenting" the warrant for registration.

            It is hoped that the foregoing explanation of this matter will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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