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Pima County v. School Dist. No. One of Pima County

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 31, 1954

The COUNTY OF PIMA, a body politic, & Lambert Kautenburger, Thomas Jay & Charies Lamb, as members of the Board of Supervisors of said County, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. ONE OF PIMA COUNTY, Arizona, a body politic & Municipal Corporation, & Delbert Secrist, Oliver Drachman & Robert Salvatierra, as the Board of Trustees of said School District, Defendants-Appellees.

Morris K. Udall, County Atty., Tucson, for appellants.

Ashby I. Lohse, Tucson, for appellees.

PHELPS, Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Pima County Superior Court declaring void a cooperative contract between the county of Pima and the board of trustees of School District No. 1 of Pima County.

The contract involved in this case provides for the construction of swimming [78 Ariz. 251] pools and other facilities on property owned by the school district. Said property is to be leased by the District to the County for a period of 20 years. Under the terms of the contract the County is to bear the entire cost of construction of two swimming pools

Page 431

in different areas in the District. At the end of 20 years the property including all improvements made thereon is to revert to the District unless the parties prior thereto mutually agree to continue such lease and the cooperative agreement.

The agreement provides for certain facilities to be constructed at the cost of the District and for joint use of the pools by taxpayers, school children and residents of the District and of the County. The school is to have priority in the use of the pools and facilities during limited portions of the year. The program established by the Pima County Park and Recreation Committee is to have second priority and any other groups or agencies to have third priority. Each party is required to secure such public liability insurance as shall be necessary for its own protection.

Provisions are made for change of the schedules established at the request of either party.

The duties and obligations of the County under the agreement are to be performed under the direction of the Pima County Park and Recreation Committee supervised however by the County except that all of the activities are subject to the supervisory control of the principal of the high school where the working hours of the County personnel are integrated with the school hours.

Expense of maintenance and operation although primarily the function of the Pima County Park and Recreation Committee are to be prorated between the County and District according to the use made of such facilities. The prorate is to be ascertained through negotiations between the director or other representative of the Pima County Park and Recreation Committee and the superintendent of the School District. Other details in management and expense are outlined but we deem their recitation unnecessary.

On the same day the above contract was executed Pima County instituted this action against School District No. 1 and its board of trustees, the other party to the contract, under the Declaratory Judgment Act seeking a determination of the validity of said contract with the result above stated.

The School District admitted all of the allegations of the complaint and prayed for a determination by the court that the contract is either valid or invalid. In its brief, however, it contends that it had authority to execute such a contract but that the County is without authority to do so. Under permission of the court a brief amicus curiae has been filed contending that the contract is invalid upon several grounds. [78 Ariz. 252] Appellant has assigned two errors:

1. That the trial court erred in holding that a school district was not a municipality within the meaning of Chapter 16, Article 15 of the Arizona Code Annotated, 1939 as amended (we find no amendment thereto).

2. The trial court erred in holding that a school dictrict and a county did not have the authority to enter into cooperative agreements concerning the creation of recreational facilities.

It argues that a school district is a municipal corporation and therefore falls within the purview of section 16-1503, A.C.A.1939, upon which it ...


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