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AGLO 1975 No. 94 - December 05, 1975
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

DISTRICTS ‑- SCHOOLS ‑- PROPERTY ‑- SALE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPERTY ‑- DISRIBUTION OF PROCEEDS

Under § 2, chapter 243, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess. (RCW 28A.58.0461) proceeds derived from the sale of school district real property may not be used to pay for the acquisition of other such property.

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                                                                December 5, 1975

Honorable Rod Chandler
State Representative, 45th District
13003 N.E. 143rd
Kirkland, Washington 98033                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1975 No. 94

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have made reference to § 2, chapter 243, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., which reads as follows:

            "The proceeds from any sale of school district real property by a board of directors shall be used solely for the purposes of school district bond retirement, real property improvements, and the equipping or furnishing of school district buildings or grounds."

            You have then inquired as to whether a school district, under this statute, may apply the proceeds derived from a sale of school district real property to pay for the acquisition of other such property.

            We believe that this question must be answered in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The new, 1975, statute to which your question refers, as above quoted, expressly lists three distinct objects to which moneys derived by school districts from the sale of real property may exclusively be applied; namely,

            (1) School district bond retirement;

            (2) Real property improvements; and

            (3) The equipping or furnishing of school district buildings or grounds.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]   Conversely, the acquisition of other real property ‑ as distinguished from real property improvements ‑ is not among the authorized objects thus listed.

            Accordingly, it is our opinion that your question must be answered in the negative on the basis of the oft-cited principle of statutory construction that the expression of one thing excludes others not expressed; expressio unius est exclusio alterius.  See, e.g.,State v. Thompson, 38 Wn.2d 774, 232 P.2d 87 (1951), and cases cited therein.

            The phrase "real property improvements," in our judgment, contemplates the addition of buildings, etc., to unimproved real property but does not encompass, as well, the acquisition of such property.  Therefore, if it is desired by the legislature to include such property acquisition within the ambit of the statute we can only suggest that the provisions of § 2, chapter 243,supra, be expressly amended as follows:

            "The proceeds from any sale of school district real property by a board of directors shall be used solely for the purposes of school district bond retirement, real property improvementsor the acquisition of improved or unimproved real property, and the equipping or furnishing of school district buildings or grounds."  (Proposed additional language underscored.)

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

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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