Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 153 -
Attorney General Smith Troy


The phrase "state educational institution" as used in section 1, chapter 224, Laws of 1947, does not include high schools or other secondary schools, and any aid given under the provisions of chapter 224 should be made directly to the institution concerned.

                                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                October 19, 1951

Honorable Pearl A. Wanamaker
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 153

Dear Madam:

            This is to acknowledge your letter of October 10, 1951, in which you requested an opinion relative to chapter 224, Laws of 1947.

            Specifically, you inquired whether (1) the phrase "state educational institution" includes high schools and secondary schools, and (2) if so, should aid, when granted, be given directly to the eligible child or paid to the institution.

            My conclusion may be stated as follows:

            The phrase "state educational institution" as used in section 1, chapter 224, Laws of 1947, does not include high schools or other secondary schools.


            This office has had occasion in the past to consider the questions you have proposed.  Please find enclosed copies of the opinions to Mr. Audley L. Mahaffey, dated May 23, 1947, and to the superintendent of public instruction, November 24, 1939, which I feel may be helpful to you.

            The opinion to Mr. Mahaffey was concerned with elementary schools and I feel the same reasons stated therein apply to high schools.  To amplify further, however, our high schools, though part of the state educational system, are  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] not "state educational institutions" within chapter 224, Laws of 1947.  It is my feeling that the above phrase was intended to include schools of higher learning.  In a letter written on behalf of the Central Washington College of Education to the Commanding General, Fourth Air Force, July 26, 1951, this office concluded that normal schools were properly considered state educational institutions.  I also refer you to the case of State v. Clausen, 51 Wash. 548, 99 Pac. 743, which concluded that the State College of Washington is a state institution.

            That the provisions of chapter 224 are not applicable to high schools or secondary schools is also borne out by the manner in which the RCW is codified.  RCW 28.76.150, 28.76.160, and 28.76.170, which correspond to sections 1-3, inclusive, of chapter 224 are codified under the provisions applicable to institutions of higher learning.

            Accordingly, it is my opinion that high schools and secondary schools are not within the scope of the phrase "state educational institutions."

            My conclusion above precludes the necessity of any discussion relative to your second inquiry.  On the question generally, however, I refer you to the opinion herein included addressed to the superintendent of public instruction dated November 24, 1939.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General