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AGO 1967 No. 17 - May 08, 1967
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


COLLEGES - COMMUNITY - DISTRICTS - TRUSTEES - MEMBER OF LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD.

A member of a local school district board of directors may be nominated for the position of community college district trustee under the community college act of 1967, chapter 8, Laws of 1967, Ex. Sess.; however, if he is appointed to the board of trustees of a community college district he can no longer thereafter serve as a school director.

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                                                                    May 8, 1967

Honorable Doris J. Johnson
State Representative, 16th District
737 Tacoma Place
Kennewick, Washington

                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 1967 No. 17

Dear Representative Johnson:

            You have asked for an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            May a member of a local school district board of directors be nominated for the position of community college district trustee under the community college act of 1967 (chapter 8, Laws of 1967, Ex. Sess.)?

            We answer your question in the manner set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            As you know, the community college act of 1967 (chapter 8, Laws of 1967, Ex. Sess., hereafter cited as the act), severed the community colleges in the state from the direction and control of school district boards of directors at the local level, and from the state superintendent of public instruction and the state board of education at the state level.

            Under § 9 of the act a new agency was created at the state level to supervise community colleges, designated the state board for community colleges.  At the local level, twenty-two organizational (nontaxing, nonmunicipal) units, the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] community college districts, were established by the act covering the entire territory of the state.  Each community college district thus created is to be governed and directed by a board of five trustees appointed by the governor.

            The manner of selection of the various trustees is set forth in some detail in the act.  Appointments by the governor must be ". . . from a list of nominees submitted by the nominating committee . . ."  Section 10 of the act.  However, the governor may make his appointments from an open field when the nominating committee has failed to submit a list of nominees within the prescribed forty-five days.  Section 12 of the act.  The nominating committee, consisting of legislators residing in the particular community college district for which trustees are being selected, is to prepare a list of no less than five nominees ". . . for consideration by the governor . . ."  Section 11 of the act.  The list of nominees must be submitted to the governor within forty-five days of the effective date of the act (April 3, 1967).  Section 12 of the act.  No time period is prescribed in the act within which the governor must make the appointments.

            The nominees are to be chosen by the nominating committee with some generally stated criteria in mind:

            ". . . In preparing the list of names to be submitted to the governor, the members of the committee shall give consideration to geographical exigencies, and the interests of labor, industry, agriculture and the professions. . . ."  (Section 12 of the act.

            The qualifications for trustee of a community college district are set forth in § 10 of the act:

            ". . .

            "Every trustee shall be a resident and qualified elector of his community college district.  No trustee mayserve as a member of the board of directors of any school district, or as an elected officer or member of the legislative authority of any municipal corporation."  (Emphasis supplied.)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            The basic qualification for trustees is the requirement that they be "qualified electors" (§ 10) or "registered voters" (§ 12) of the district in order toserve as trustees.

            The limitation or prohibition on serving in dual capacities is directed at trustees and not nominees.  The act is clear in its statement that no trustee mayserve as a member of a board of directors of any school district.  This does not mean that a school director may not be nominated for the board of trustees of a community college district.  Nor does it mean that a school director cannot be appointed to the board of trustees.  The statement in the act referred to means simply that a school director, if he is actually appointed to the board of trustees of a community college district, can no longer serve as a school director, since clearly it was the legislative intent that no individual serve as both trustee and school director at the same time.

            We note in closing that, besides applying to school directors, the above quoted statutory prohibition on serving in a dual capacity applies as well to ". . . an elected officer or member of the legislative authority of any municipal corporation. . . ."  Section 10 of the act.1/

             We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

THOMAS K. DALGLISH
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/Compare and contrast § 5 of the act, relative to membership on the state board for community colleges, which provides:

            ". . .No member of the college board shall be, during his term of office, also a member of the state board of education or a member of a K-12 board, or be employed by the common school system, or have any direct pecuniary interest in education within this state."

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