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AGO 1958 No. 186 - April 29, 1958
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- CLASSES CANNOT BE HELD ON SATURDAYS.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS ‑- APPORTIONMENT NOT ALLOWED FOR CLASSES HELD ON SATURDAYS.

A school district may not conduct regular classes on Saturdays even on a voluntary basis and qualify for the regular apportionment credit.

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                                                                   April 29, 1958

Honorable Thurman E. Ward
Prosecuting Attorney
Klickitat County
Goldendale, Washington                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 186

Dear Sir:

            This is written in answer to your request for an opinion on the following question:

            May a school district conduct regular classes on Saturdays and qualify for the regular apportionment credit if attendance of both students and teachers is voluntary?

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 28.02.060 reads as follows:

            "No teacher shall be required to teach school on Saturday, Labor Day, Veterans' and Admission Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, New Year's, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day or Fourth of July:  Provided, That no reduction from  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] the teacher's time or salary shall be made by reason of the fact that a school day happens to be one of the days referred to in this section as a day on which school shall not be taught."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            The basic problem is to determine the legislative intent from the language used in the statute.  Did the legislature intend to allow a teacher to merely refuse to teach on the days specified therein, or did the legislature intend also that school shall not be taught on the days specified?

            The statute makes no distinction between Saturday and the other days named therein; consequently, if school may be taught on a voluntary basis on Saturday, it may also be taught on a voluntary basis on Christmas, New Year's, and the Fourth of July.

            In an opinion written to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, dated January 17, 1918, this office held that attendance credit for state apportionment could be allowed only for attendance of students on "school days" and that Saturday was not a "school day."  We have examined this opinion and have concluded that it correctly decided the question.

            Admittedly, the statute is somewhat ambiguous.  The first sentence merely indicates that a teacher should not be required to teach on the days specified.  The second sentence provides that no deduction shall be made from the salary of the teacher by reason of the fact that a "school day" happens to be one of the days referred to in the section "as a day on which school shall not be taught."  Had the legislature merely intended to allow a teacher to refuse to teach on one of the days specified it could have so provided by substituting "a day on which a teacher shall not be required to teach" for "a day on which school shall not be taught."  The legislature did not do so and we must conclude that the language actually used was intended to have some significance in the interpretation of the act.

            The language contained in 82 C.J.S. 844 is appropriate.  It reads as follows:

            ". . . The word 'provided' is frequently used in legislation for many purposes other than that of expressing a condition, so that its mere presence does not of itself convert the words following it into a 'proviso.' . . .  Such word may, if that is the sense gathered from the whole act, simply explain what had previously been stated in general terms, or direct the manner of doing what was allowed by the context to be done generally.  Frequently, it is equivalent to the word 'and,' and extends rather than limits the meaning of an act."  (Emphasis supplied.)

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            In our opinion, the term "provided" as used in RCW 28.02.060 does not convert the words following it into a proviso.  It is used in a conjunctive sense to add to the first sentence and to extend rather than limit the meaning of the act.

            If the second sentence is construed as a proviso, the same result is reached.  InState ex rel. Wilson v. King County, 7 Wn. (2d) 104, 109 P. (2d) 291, our supreme court held that where there is only a partial inconsistency between the enacting clause and a proviso, the proviso prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

            We conclude, therefore, that a school district may not hold regular classes on Saturday on a voluntary basis and qualify for the regular apportionment credit.

            We trust this information will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

ELVIN J. VANDEBERG
Assistant Attorney General

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