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April 2, 1970
Honorable James P. McNally
Stevens County Court House
Colville, Washington 99114
Cite as: AGLO 1970 No. 55
This is written in response to your recent request for our opinion with regard to RCW 28.57.200, as amended by § 3, chapter 86, Laws of 1970 (House Bill No. 13).
As amended by this 1970 act, RCW 28.57.200 reads as follows:
"In case any school district shall have an average daily attendance of fewer than ((five)) two pupils or shall not have maintained, during the last preceding school year at least the minimum terms of school required by law, the intermediate school district superintendent shall report said fact to the county committee, which committee shall ((give consideration to the question of the dissolution of )) dissolve the school district and ((the annexation of)) annex the territory thereof to some other district or districts. In case any territory is not a part of any school district, the intermediate school district superintendent shall present to the county committee a proposal for the annexation of said territory to some contiguous district or districts."
Section 6 of this 1970 amendatory act contained an emergency clause ‑ and, accordingly, the act became effective on February 20, 1970, when it was signed into law by the governor. Clearly, the amended version of RCW 28.57.200, supra, has transformed this statute from a discretionary provision with respect to the dissolution of any school district having an average daily attendance of fewer than five pupils into a mandatory provision with respect to the dissolution of any school district having an average daily attendance of fewer than two pupils. Accordingly, it follows that the county committee, upon receipt of a report [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] from the intermediate school district superintendent that a school district within its jurisdiction has an average daily attendance of fewer than two pupils, is under an immediately enforceable obligation to dissolve the district and annex the territory thereof to some other district or districts.
The amended version of this statute, as set forth above, contains no authorization or allowance for any sort of delay in action by the county committee ‑ and in view of the mandatory language of the amended statute we have no doubt that if a writ of mandamus were sought to compel the committee to act, immediately, upon the report submitted to it by the intermediate school district superintendent calling for the dissolution of a school district having an average daily attendance of fewer than two pupils, this action would be successful.
We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General