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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1962 No. 155 -
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


The board of directors of a school district does not have the authority to pay the expenses incurred by teacher applicants who come to the district for interviews.

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                                                                 August 14, 1962

Honorable Gordon L. Walgren
Prosecuting Attorney
Kitsap County
245 Fourth Street Building

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 155

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested an opinion of this office upon a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            May a school district of the first class expend district funds to pay the expenses incurred by teacher applicants who come to the district for interviews?

            We answer your question in the negative.


            School districts are municipal corporations and, as such, have only those powers expressly granted by the legislature, those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to powers granted, and those essential to the declared objects and purposes of the district.  Seattle High School Chapter No. 200 v. Sharples, 159 Wash. 424, 293 Pac. 994 (1930);Juntila v. Everett School District No. 24, 178 Wash. 637, 35 P. (2d) 78 (1934).

            To clarify this point, implied powers are such as are necessary to carry into effect those which are expressly granted, and which must therefore be presumed to have been within the intention of the legislative grant.  City of Madison v. Daley, 58 Fed. 751 (1893).  If there is a fair or reasonable doubt as to whether or not a particular power has been granted, it must be denied.  Griggs v. Port of Tacoma, 150 Wash. 402, 273 Pac. 521 (1928); Pacific First Federal Savings and Loan Association v. Pierce County, 27 Wn. (2d) 347, 178  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] P. (2d) 351 (1947); 2 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 3rd ed., § 10.12, p. 609.

            The words "necessary" and "essential" in such cases refer to legal necessity rather than practical necessity.  SeeState ex rel. State Board v. Clausen, 84 Wash. 279, 146 Pac. 630 (1915).

            With regard to the employment of teachers, RCW 28.58.100 provides in pertinent part:

            "Every board of directors, unless otherwise specially provided by law, shall:

            "(1) Employ for not more than one year, and for sufficient cause discharge teachers, and fix, alter, allow and order paid their salaries and compensation;"

            It is obvious that, while the payment of travel expenses of applicants for teaching positions may help the district's recruitment program, it is notlegally necessary for performance of the director's power to employ teachers.

            Also, it appears from an examination of the other various statutes relating to school districts, as well as the general law of municipal corporations, that it can be said there are no statutes which grant specifically, or by necessary implication, the power to reimburse teacher applicants for expenses incurred in attending an interview.

            Further, it may generally be said that the power of a municipal corporation to reimburse a person for expenses is limited to officers and employees, and then only in connection with matters for which the person was appointed or employed.  James v. Seattle, 22 Wash. 654, 62 Pac. 84 (1900); Madden v. Riley, 33 Cal. App. (2d) 814, 128 P. (2d) 602 (1942); andMcKenzie v. Douglas County, 81 Ore. 442, 159 Pac. 625 (1916).  One who simply presents himself for an interview certainly cannot be considered employed nor performing a duty on behalf of the interviewing district.

            For these reasons we conclude that a school district cannot reimburse a teacher applicant for expenses incurred in attending an interview.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General