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Community Unit School Dist. v. County Board

FEBRUARY 23, 1956.

COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 6 OF MACON AND CHRISTIAN COUNTIES, ILLINOIS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

COUNTY BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF SANGAMON COUNTY, ILLINOIS ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon county; the Hon. CLEM SMITH, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

PRESIDING JUSTICE HIBBS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied March 19, 1956.

A petition was filed by more than two-thirds of the voters of a territory comprising approximately four and one-third sections of land located within Unit School District No. 6 of Macon and Christian Counties, hereinafter referred to as District No. 6, requesting the detachment of such from District No. 6 and the annexation of the same to Community Unit School District No. 12 of Sangamon and Macon Counties, hereinafter referred to as District No. 12, pursuant to the provisions of article 4B of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 122, pars. 4B-1 et seq.).

A previous petition for detachment and annexation attempted to include this territory but failed to include it because of an incomplete description. After timely notice, a hearing was conducted by the County Board of School Trustees of Sangamon County, hereinafter referred to as the "Trustees," which resulted in a decision granting the petition to so detach and annex.

District No. 6 and certain individual residents thereof filed a complaint for a review of such administrative decision under the provisions of the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 110, par. 264 et seq.). After a hearing thereon the Circuit Court entered an order affirming the action of the Trustees.

The appellants, being District No. 6 and others appealed directly to the Supreme Court of this State contending, first, that the Trustees' decision was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, and second, that article 4B of the School Code was unconstitutional in that it was indefinite and unlawfully delegated legislative powers. While this cause was pending in that court, it determined the question of the constitutionality of section 4B of the School Code in School Dist. No. 79 v. County Board School Trustees of Lake County, 4 Ill.2d 533, and there held that section 4B was constitutional and provided sufficient standards for the exercise of administrative discretion to render the delegation of power immune from constitutional attack. Thereafter the Supreme Court transferred this case to this court for decision. (6 Ill.2d 320.)

The only question before this court for determination is whether the action of such Trustees pursuant to the statute was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

Article 4B-5 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 122, par. 4B-5) provides for the review of decisions of County Boards of School Trustees in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Review Act. Section 11 of the latter Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 110, par. 274) directs that every action to review such a decision by the courts shall extend to all questions of law and fact presented by the record made by the administrative agency (in this case the Trustees) and the findings and conclusions of such agency shall be held to be prima facie true and correct. These provisions for review have been construed to mean that the courts do not have the power to conduct a hearing de novo, nor to reweigh the evidence, but have only the duty to review the record to see whether the findings and decision of the administrative agency are supported by competent evidence. (Harrison v. Civil Service Commission of Chicago, 1 Ill.2d 137; Stricklin v. Annunzio, 413 Ill. 324; Secaur v. Illinois State Civil Service Commission, 408 Ill. 197.)

The School Code sets up two separate and distinct types of standards for the Trustees, one a mandatory statement of conditions requisite to the granting of any petition and the other a guide to the exercise of administrative discretion. Section 4B-3 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 122, par. 4B-3) provides that no petition for annexation or detachment under the Act shall be granted if any of the following conditions exist:

(a) If there will be any nonhigh school territory resulting from the granting of the petition.

(b) Unless after granting the petition any community unit district or high school district created shall have a population of at least 2,000 and an equalized assessed valuation of at least $6,000,000 based upon the last full, fair cash value as equalized by the Department of Revenue as of the date of filing of the petition.

(c) Unless the territory within any district so created and any district whose boundaries are affected by the granting of such petition shall after the granting thereof be compact and contiguous except as provided in Section 4B-4 of this Act.

(d) To create any school district with a population of less than 2,000 unless the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the County Superintendent of Schools of each county in which the proposed district will lie shall certify to the county board or boards of school trustees that the creation of such new district will not interfere with the ultimate reorganization of the territory of such proposed district as a part of a district having a population of 2,000 or more.

Both Districts here involved have high school and elementary school facilities serving their entire territory; both after the detachment in question would have a population of over 2,000 and an assessed valuation of well over $6,000,000 and would be compact and contiguous. There is no dispute in ...


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