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Goedde v. Community Unit School Dist. No. 7

APRIL 2, 1959.

ALBERT M. GOEDDE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 7, MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, W.H. HARTKE, ET AL., INTERVENORS-DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin county; the Hon. SAMUEL O. SMITH, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

PRESIDING JUSTICE ROETH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Plaintiff, a licensed architect, filed his complaint in the Circuit Court of Macoupin County seeking a declaratory judgment. The suit was brought against the Community Unit School District No. 7 seeking a declaration of rights under a contract entered into by plaintiff and defendant. After answer by the school district, appellants, as taxpayers and residents of the school district, were granted leave to intervene and filed their answer to the complaint. The lower court entered a declaratory judgment in favor of the plaintiff and this appeal was perfected by the intervenors. By admission of the parties, the only questions presented to the lower court were questions of law and no testimony was taken in the court below.

From the record it appears that the defendant school district and the plaintiff entered into a contract on October 2, 1956, under the terms of which plaintiff was to perform certain architectural services for the construction of a new grade school building and the repair and improvement of other school properties, for a specified fee with an agreement that "no fee for preliminary work shall become due until a bond referendum has been passed to authorize construction of the work. If no bond referendum can be passed in two years after this contract is dated, then this agreement shall terminate."

The defendant school district then proceeded, pursuant to the provisions of the School Code, and after petition presented to it, to submit the propositions of building a new grade school and making the repairs and improvements, and issuing bonds to pay the cost thereof, to a vote of the residents of the school district. To this end the defendant school district adopted a resolution calling an election. No question is raised in this appeal as to any part of the proceedings or election with reference to the proposition to build a new grade school and make certain repairs and improvements on other school property, which proposition received a favorable vote. The only question involved herein involves the legality or validity of the election so far as the proposition to issue bonds is concerned, which also received a favorable vote.

The resolution adopted by the board of education of defendant district provided among other things as follows:

"That a special election is hereby called and shall be held in Community Unit School District #7, of Macoupin County, Illinois, on the 15th day of December, 1956, for the purpose of submitting to the legal voters of the said district the following propositions:

Proposition No. 2

Shall the Board of Education of Community Unit School District #7, Macoupin County, Illinois, be authorized to issue bonds of the said district to the amount of FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND and no/100 ($525,000.00) Dollars for the purpose of building a new grade school and to repair and remodel present school buildings, the said improvements to be used for classrooms, shops, and other school purposes; the bonds to be due on January 1, in the amounts and years as follows:

Schedule

$22,000.00 on January 1, 1959, and January 1, 1960 $24,000.00 on January 1, 1961, through January 1, 1964 $25,000.00 on January 1, 1965, through January 1, 1967 $30,000.00 on January 1, 1968, through January 1, 1972 $32,000.00 on January 1, 1973, through January 1, 1977.

To bear interest at a rate of not to exceed 4.2% per annum."

The resolution then provided for the statutory notice of election to be given and set out the form of the notice and incorporated therein the last quoted language as one of the propositions to be voted on. The resolution also prescribed the form of the ballot to be used and as to proposition 2 the language in the body of the ballot was to be the same as above set out. In the printing of the ballots, however, apparently by inadvertence the last line, i.e., "To bear interest at a rate of not to exceed 4.2% per annum" was omitted and the ballots used and cast in the election did not contain this phrase. Intervenors contend initially, that payment of plaintiff's fees under his contract with the school district requires passage of a valid bond referendum and that failure of the ballot to specify the interest rate which the bonds would carry was a fatal defect which rendered the election on proposition 2 invalid.

The forms of the notice and the form of the ballot to be used in submitting public measures to vote in elections of this kind, are prescribed by Sections 5A-10 and 5A-13 of the School Code [Ill. Rev. Stats. 1957, ch. 122]. As to the notice, Section 5A-10 provides:

"Whenever a question of public policy is submitted to be voted upon by the people within the district, the notice of such election shall contain the ...


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