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AGO 1956 No. 313 - August 17, 1956
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOL DISTRICT ‑- SALE OF LAND FOR HIGHWAY PURPOSES

RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) does not amend RCW 47.12.040 to require the superior court to pass on a sale by a school district to the State of Washington of property for highway purposes.

A school district may convey for cash, property of a value less than $20,000.00, to another governmental subdivision following the statutory procedure as set out in RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.), and RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) does not amend that procedure.

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                                                                 August 17, 1956

Honorable Don J. Clark
Prosecuting Attorney of Yakima County
Suite 102 County Court House
Yakima, Washington

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 313

Attention:  !ttMr. Richard C. Focht

            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion concerning the interrelationship of RCW 47.12.040, RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.), and RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.).  We paraphrase your specific questions as follows:

            1.         Does RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) amend RCW 47.12.040 so that the superior court must pass on a sale of property for highway purposes by a school district to the State of Washington?

            2.         May a school district convey property of a value less than $20,000.00 to another governmental subdivision following the statutory procedure as set out in RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.), or does RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) amend that procedure?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Our answer to your first question is in the negative.  Our answer to your second question is that such a conveyance may properly be made, provided the sale is made for cash, but that if the sale is made for highway purposes it may be carried out under the provisions of RCW 47.12.040.  In any event RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) has no effect on the legality of the sale procedure established by RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.).

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The statutes involved in your question read, in pertinent part, as follows:

            RCW 47.12.040

            "Whenever land owned by a county or other political or municipal subdivision of the state, which is not being used as a public highway, is needed for state highway purposes, the county or subdivision may give, sell, or lease it or any interest therein, to the state, without notice to the public or competitive bids, for such consideration as the governing body of the county or subdivision deems for its best interest. . . ."

            RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.)

            "Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the state or any municipality or any political subdivision thereof, may sell, transfer, exchange, lease or otherwise dispose of any property, real or personal, or property rights, including but not limited to the title to real property, to the state or any municipality or any political subdivision thereof on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon by the proper authorities of the state and/or the subdivisions concerned:  Provided, That such property is determined by decree of the superior court in the county where such property is located, . . . to be either necessary, or surplus or excess to the future foreseeable needs of the state or of such municipality or any political subdivision thereof concerned, which requests authority to transfer such property."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.)

            "The board of directors of any school district of this state may:

            "(1) Sell for cash, at public or private sale, and convey by deed all interest of the district in or to any of the real property of the district which is no longer required for school purposes if the value thereof is twenty thousand dollars or less; . . .

            ". . .Provided, however, That prior to selling any of such real property of the district the board of directors shall appoint three licensed real estate brokers who shall appraise the real property to be sold, and such real property shall not be sold for less than ninety percent of the appraised value thereof.

            ". . ."

            These statutes must be considered as complementary, rather than as mutually exclusive.  It is true that RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp) opens with the phrase "Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, . . ." but this merely means that the state, municipality, or political subdivision may sell its property according to the procedure outlined in that statute, even though other statutes may specifically prohibit such sales.  RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) does not supersede or replace established statutory methods for the sale of property by the state, municipality or political subdivision.

            One of these methods is set forth in RCW 47.12.040.  This statute is restricted in scope to transfers of real property by a political or municipal subdivision to the state for use as a highway.  When a transfer falls within the scope of RCW 47.12.040, this statute may be used to control the transfer procedure.

            Similarly, RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.) is restricted in scope to cash transfers of school district property of a value less than $20,000.00.  When a sale falls within its terms, this statute may be used to control the transfer procedure.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            In the factual situation you pose, Wapato School District No. 207 desires to convey a small portion of its school site to the State of Washington for secondary state highway No. 3A.  The consideration for this conveyance will be the undertaking by the state highway department to fence the school grounds from the highway.

            RCW 28.58.045 (1953 Supp.) cannot govern this sale because it is not a cash transfer.  The sale could properly be made by following the terms of RCW 39.33.010 (1953 Supp.) which would require the superior court to pass on it.  But this latter statute need not be controlling by reason of the existence of RCW 47.12.040, which precisely covers the factual situation involved.  The school district is certainly a political subdivision of the state.  It is selling land for highway purposes.  Therefore, in carrying out the sale, the district may take advantage of the special provisions of RCW 47.12.040.

            We trust the above analysis will prove of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


JOHN S. ROBINSON
Assistant Attorney General

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