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Wauconda Tp. High School Dist. v. County Board

MARCH 14, 1957.

WAUCONDA TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 118 IN LAKE AND MCHENRY COUNTIES, STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

COUNTY BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF MCHENRY COUNTY; SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 156 IN MCHENRY COUNTY, ILLINOIS, ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry county; the Hon. ALBERT S. O'SULLIVAN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

JUSTICE EOVALDI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This action was brought by plaintiff school district to review a decision of the County Board of School Trustees of McHenry county ordering the detachment of certain territory from plaintiff's district and annexing it to another district. The court entered a judgment reversing and setting aside the decision of the county board on the ground that no evidence was taken or preserved by said board at its hearing.

The appellants' theory is that the record of the Board of School Trustees is prima facie true; that the court erred in finding that no evidence was taken or preserved by the board at its hearing; and that the court should have confirmed the decision of the county board.

Appellee's theory of the case is that the County Board of School Trustees failed to comply with the mandate of Chapter 122, Section 4B-4 of the Illinois Revised Statutes; that the board's order of disconnection was null and void, and that upon review by the circuit court of McHenry county the decision was properly reversed.

Wauconda Township High School District No. 118 in Lake and McHenry counties filed its complaint in the circuit court praying for a review of a decision of the County Board of School Trustees of McHenry county detaching certain territory from said district and annexing same to School District No. 156 in McHenry county. It was alleged among other things that the decision of the administrative agency was not based on any transcript or upon any maps or information concerning same, and that said agency was without jurisdiction or authority to hear and determine the prayer of the petition and to enter an order to change the boundaries of the districts involved; that the secretary of the board failed to submit maps showing the districts involved or to report the financial and educational conditions of the districts involved and the probable effect of the proposed change, and that such agency made no determination as to the funds and indebtedness of the districts involved. The County Board of School Trustees filed an answer denying certain of the allegations of the complaint, and attaching certain exhibits as a part of the record of said board.

Six individual petitioners obtained an order from the circuit court for leave to intervene as defendants, and moved for dismissal of the complaint, which motion was allowed by the circuit court. On appeal, this court reversed the order and remanded the case to the circuit court. (7 Ill. App.2d 65.) We there held that Wauconda Township High School District No. 118 was entitled to have reviewed the decision of the County Board of School Trustees, which decision detached from its district a substantial part of its territory.

The case was reinstated in the circuit court and the intervening defendants answered the complaint, denying certain of the allegations thereof.

Chap. 122, Sec. 4B-4, Ill. Rev. Stat., provides in part as follows:

". . . The county board of school trustees shall hear evidence as to the school needs and conditions of the territory in the area within and adjacent thereto and as to the ability of the districts affected to meet the standards of recognition as prescribed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, . . . ."

While it is true as contended by appellants that the findings and conclusions of an administrative agency on questions of fact shall be held to be prima facie true and correct, and that the court will not disturb the findings of fact made by an administrative agency unless manifestly against the weight of the evidence, it is also the established law in Illinois that the findings of said board must be based on facts established by evidence which is introduced as such, and such board cannot rely on its own information to support its findings. The applicable statute in this case specifically provides that the county board of school trustees shall hear evidence. In the case of Wallace v. Annunzio, 411 Ill. 172, the Supreme Court held that the findings of the administrative agency must be supported by substantial evidence, and that the court has power to review all questions of law and fact presented by the record. To the same effect are the cases of Beth Weber, Inc. v. Murphy, 389 Ill. 60, and Moriarty, Inc. v. Murphy, 387 Ill. 119.

In the case of Flick v. Gately, 328 Ill. App. 81, hearings were had before a zoning board. No witnesses testified nor was any evidence introduced. On page 88, the court said:

"The report of proceedings in the return discloses that not a single witness testified and that no evidence of any kind was introduced before the board at any of its sessions when this case was being considered by it. While it is true that in the course of the general discussions at the various sessions of the board some of the adjoining property owners made statements that the operation of plaintiffs' plant caused excessive noise and vibrations, no evidence as such was presented to said board. The rule is firmly established that findings of administrative boards must be based on facts established by evidence and `nothing can be treated as evidence which is not introduced as such.' Chicago & E.I. Ry. Co. v. Commerce Commission ex rel. Hoopeston Grain & Coal Co., 341 Ill. 277."

On page 89, the court further said:

"There were several documents included in the return as tending to support the findings and decision of the Board. These documents were not introduced in evidence at any of its ...


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