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Hunter v. Northern Arizona Utilities Company

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 20, 1937

BYRON F. HUNTER, as Treasurer of Apache County, Arizona, Appellant,

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Apache. Levi S. Udall, Judge. Judgment reversed and cause remanded with instructions.

Mr. Dodd L. Greer, for Appellant.

Mr. Earl Platt, for Appellees.


[51 Ariz. 79] LOCKWOOD, J.

Northern Arizona Utilities Company, a corporation, hereinafter called the company, and Apache County High School Board, hereinafter the board, filed a petition in the superior court of Apache county, praying that the court issue a writ of mandamus, directing Byron F. Hunter, as treasurer of Apache county, hereinafter called defendant, to register and pay, when funds were available, a certain warrant drawn by the board upon defendant, in favor of the company. Defendant demurred to the complaint, and the demurrer being overruled and defendant standing upon his demurrer, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs, whereupon this appeal was taken.

There are some four assignments of error, but we think it necessary to consider only the first, which is that there is no law authorizing the defendant to pay warrants drawn by the board. The question turns upon the construction of our statutes setting forth the powers and duties of the board and the county treasurer.

Chapter 13 of title 11, paragraph 2770 et seq., of the Civil Code of 1913 set forth the law of Arizona in regard to high schools as it existed at the time of the [51 Ariz. 80] adoption of that Code. By its terms there were three classes of high schools permitted in Arizona. The first class included those established by individual school districts, having an average daily attendance of 200 or more pupils. In such cases, the high schools were governed by the board of trustees of the particular school district involved, in the same manner as were the common schools of the district. The second class included what were known as union high schools. They were established by the joint action of two or more adjoining school districts consolidating themselves for high school purposes only, and the high school districts thus created were governed by a board of education, three of whom were required to be residents of the common school district where the high school was located, and two of the remaining territory. A trustee of one of the component common school districts was not eligible as a member of the board. The third class covered what were known as county union high schools. In this class there was but one high school to be established in the county, located in the manner set

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forth in the Code, and governed by a board of education selected in the same manner as the ordinary union high school district boards were chosen. The different boards governing all these high schools had the same powers and duties that were vested in the trustee of common school districts.

The manner in which the expenses of maintaining all the high schools described in the Code, as well as those of the common schools, were to be paid was set forth in paragraphs 2708 and 2819 of the Code, as follows:

"2708. It shall be the duty of the county school superintendent of each county: ...

"(2) On the order of the board of school trustees of any district, to draw his warrant on the county treasurer for all necessary expenses against the school fund of any such district; the warrants must be drawn [51 Ariz. 81] in the order in which the vouchers therefor are filed in his office. No warrant shall be drawn unless the money is in the proper fund to pay it, nor shall any warrant for any teacher's salary be drawn unless the voucher shall state the monthly salary of the teacher and the name of the school month for which said salary is due. Upon receipt of such voucher the county superintendent shall draw his warrant upon the county treasurer in favor of the parties, and for the amount stated in such voucher. To keep open to the inspection of the public a register of warrants showing the funds upon which the warrants have been drawn, the number thereof, in whose favor, and for what purpose drawn, and also a receipt from the person to whom the warrant was delivered."

"2819. It shall be the duty of the treasurer of each county:

"(1.) To receive and to hold as a special fund all public school moneys, whether received by him from the state treasurer, or raised by the county for the benefit of public schools, or from any other source, and to keep a separate account thereof, and when the same is apportioned among the ...

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