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Ross v. School District No. 16, of Pima County

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 9, 1942

MRS. P. H. ROSS, as County School Superintendent of Pima County, Arizona, et al., Appellants,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 16, of Pima County, Arizona, et al., Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Pima. Levi S. Udall, Judge. Judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Mr. J. Mercer Johnson, County Attorney, for Appellants.

Messrs. Misbaugh and Fickett, for Appellees.

OPINION

Page 915

[60 Ariz. 10] McALISTER, J.

This is an appeal from a judgment setting aside, upon review by certiorari, the action of the county school superintendent and of the board of supervisors of Pima County, changing the boundaries of Common School District No. 10 and High School District No. 4, of that county.

The facts disclose that on May 19, 1941, there was filed in the office of the county school superintendent of Pima County, a petition, signed by more than 10 qualified electors of Common School District No. 10 [60 Ariz. 11] and High School District No. 4 of Pima County, the boundaries of which are co-terminous, seeking to have the superintendent effect a change of the boundaries of these districts so as to include in them certain real property then a part of the adjoining School District No. 16 and certain other property then constituting unorganized territory situated north of District No. 16, totaling altogether about 5500 acres of land.

The day the petition was received, the trustees of District No. 10 and the Board of Education of High School District No. 4, the same three persons composing both boards, approved it and waived notice of a hearing thereon. On that day the superintendent set May 26, 1941, and the office of the board of supervisors, as the time and place for hearing the petition, and on the 19th, 20th and 21st of May, 1941, caused written notice thereof to be served respectively upon H. F. Vinson, Sam R. Falvey and Norman E. Gabel, the trustees of District No. 16. The hearing, attended by quite a number of qualified electors residing in District No. 16, was had on the day set and after considering the matters presented at that time, the petition, and the advantages and disadvantages that might result from granting it, the superintendent approved it and recommended its approval by the board of supervisors. Thereupon the board of supervisors notified the trustees of District 16 that the school superintendent had approved and presented to it a petition to change the boundaries of Amphitheatre School District No. 10 and High School District No. 4 in such a way as to include therein a large number of acres of land then located in District 16 and that a hearing thereon would be held before it on the 9th day of June, 1941. The hearing took place, one trustee and a number of the qualified electors of District 16 appeared, and on June 17, 1941, the board entered an order approving the action of the school superintendent [60 Ariz. 12] and voted to annex a part of District 16 to Common School District No. 10 and High School District No. 4.

Six days later, School District No. 16, and 23 qualified electors and real property owners residing therein, some of whom were owners of real property it was attempted to carve out of said District 16 and make a part of School District No. 10 and High School District No. 4, applied for and secured from the superior court of Pima county a writ of certiorari directing the county school superintendent and the board of supervisors of Pima county to certify to it a transcript of the record and the evidence of the proceedings had before them in passing upon the petition and that they take no further action in the matter until it had been heard and determined by the court.

After hearing the facts, the court held that the action of the school superintendent, approving the petition to change the boundaries of District No. 10 and High School District No. 4, and also that of the board of supervisors, approving the action of the school superintendent, was without jurisdiction and entered an order cancelling and

Page 916

setting them aside. From this judgment the school superintendent and the board of supervisors have appealed and they rely for reversal upon the contention that the provisions of the statute for changing the boundaries of school districts are sections 54-403 and 54-404, Arizona Code 1939, and that they were strictly complied with. These sections read as follows:

"54-403. Record of boundaries. -- The county school superintendent shall, on the first day of July of each year, file with the board of supervisors a transcript of the boundaries of each school district within his county, and when said transcript is approved by the board of supervisors, the boundaries shown in said transcript become the legal boundaries of the district and shall not be changed except between April first [60 Ariz. 13] and July first. The boundaries of a district shall not be changed by the county superintendent unless the trustees of the districts affected have had written notice of the proposed change, and an opportunity to be heard."

"54-404. Change of boundaries. -- When ten (10) or more qualified school electors residing in any district desire that the boundaries of said district be changed they shall present a petition to the county school superintendent, setting forth the change of boundaries desired, and the reasons therefor. When such petition is filed with the superintendent, he shall approve or ...


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